Multiple sclerosis tissue proteomics

A/Prof Michael Barnett, Prof John Prineas, Dr Linda Ly and Dr Ben Crossett, University of Sydney.

The exact target of the self-immune response in MS is yet to be identified. This project will use advanced proteomics to discover and characterise these protein targets and other important proteins in MS. Proteomics allows scientists to examine all the proteins in a biological situation at once – potentially thousands of proteins in the brain. The project is examining brain tissue taken from differently affected areas of the brain and spinal cord to determine which proteins are involved at the very earliest stages of MS lesion development or lesion expansion. This will eventually lead to more targeted therapies for MS.

For more information, please visit the MS Research Australia website.

Ly L, Barnett MH, Zheng YZ, Gulati T, Prineas JW, Crossett B. (2011) Comprehensive Tissue Processing Strategy for Quantitative Proteomics of Formalin-fixed Multiple Sclerosis Lesions. J Proteome Res., 10 (10): 4855-68.
doi: 10.1021/pr200672n, PMID: 218708544

Identification of the cells responsible for nerve sheath repair in MS

Dr Alison Jennings and Prof William Carroll, University of Western Australia.

Optic neuritis is a frequent initial manifestation of MS and is often used as a model for studying the mechanisms of axonal loss and myelination in MS. In contrast to most brain regions the optic nerve has a simple, regular structure and no nerve cell bodies, making it more straightforward to study. In this project, MS-affected optic nerve specimens will be analysed by staining the cells involved with repair of damaged nerve sheaths (remyelination) to find out why this process fails in later phase MS. By understanding more about ‘remyelination failure’ it is hoped that researchers can find a way to prevent it happening and therefore improve patient health outcomes.
Further details are on the MSRA website:

For more information, please visit the MS Research Australia website.

The role of Mirco RNA in Multiple Sclerosis

Dr Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Prof Rodney Scott, Dr Murray Cairns, Moira Graves, Mathew Cox, University of Newcastle.

This project will examine the activity levels of regulatory molecules, known as miRNA, in brain tissue taken from people with MS and compare it with the levels in healthy brain tissue. These molecules in turn have a large effect on genes and might play a role in the development of MS. Any differences might be able to be used as biomarkers - molecules that can measured and correlated with disease progress. Biomarkers are particularly useful, for example, in clinical trials to quickly show whether new therapies are working to halt the disease. The miRNA work may also uncover novel targets for drug development in MS.