Abstract by Marcus Hadfield
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Finding the Proteins Connected to Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive auto-immune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the body’s joint tissues that presently occurs as a difficult disease to diagnose and treat . Thus, there exists a pressing need for novel strategies in researching RA. In our work, we have obtained isothermal melting curves for serum proteins of patients with and without RA. In analyzing these curves, we found differences to exist in the melting points of serum proteins between study groups. We supplemented this strategy by using mass spectrometry to investigate changes to the in vitro reactivity and in vivo modification of surface amino acids. We found in vivo modifications that seem to occur more at specific sites, in conjunction with changes in surface amino acid reactivity that suggests changes in secondary structure. These post-translational modifications thus provide valuable insight in explaining why differences exist in our thermal melting curves, consequently providing further information into RA.