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Proteomic characterization of neuromelanin granules isolated from human substantia nigra by laser-microdissection

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Johannes Attems



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Author(s) 2016. Neuromelanin is a complex polymer pigment found primarily in the dopaminergic neurons of human substantia nigra. Neuromelanin pigment is stored in granules including a protein matrix and lipid droplets. Neuromelanin granules are yet only partially characterised regarding their structure and function. To clarify the exact function of neuromelanin granules in humans, their enrichment and in-depth characterization from human substantia nigra is necessary. Previously published global proteome studies of neuromelanin granules in human substantia nigra required high tissue amounts. Due to the limited availability of human brain tissue we established a new method based on laser microdissection combined with mass spectrometry for the isolation and analysis of neuromelanin granules. With this method it is possible for the first time to isolate a sufficient amount of neuromelanin granules for global proteomics analysis from ten 10 μm tissue sections. In total 1,000 proteins were identified associated with neuromelanin granules. More than 68% of those proteins were also identified in previously performed studies. Our results confirm and further extend previously described findings, supporting the connection of neuromelanin granules to iron homeostasis and lysosomes or endosomes. Hence, this method is suitable for the donor specific enrichment and proteomic analysis of neuromelanin granules.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Plum S, Steinbach S, Attems J, Keers S, Riederer P, Gerlach M, May C, Marcus K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2016

Volume: 6

Online publication date: 14/11/2016

Acceptance date: 25/10/2016

Date deposited: 13/04/2017

ISSN (print): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/srep37139


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