The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular dysfunctions are widely unknown. Basically, pathological changes in the cardiovascular system arise from protein alterations. Proteomics comprises a set of tools for the large-scale study of gene expression at the protein level thereby allowing for the identification of protein alterations responsible for the development and the pathological outcome of diseases including those of the cardiovascular system. In principle these alterations include those of suitable candidates for drug targets and disease biomarkers as well as therapeutic proteins / peptides. Since gene therapy depends on the function of a therapeutic protein encoded by a “therapeutic” gene proteomic analyses also provide the basis for the design and application of gene therapies. Proteomic technologies allow to identify not only proteins but also the nature of their posttranslational modifications thus enabling the elucidation of signal transduction pathways and their deregulation under pathological conditions. The linkage of information about proteome changes with functional consequences lead to the development of functional proteomic studies. Functional proteomic analyses will particularly help to better understand the relations between proteome changes and cardiovascular dysfunctions. The storage and administration of experimental data obtained by the application of proteomic analyses is supported by species- and tissue-specific protein databases and specific software. Publications in this field are reviewed in this paper.
Keywords: proteomic analysis, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, protein identification, posttranslational modification, protein-protein interaction, cardiovascular disease
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