Standard protein helps analysis
A new approach to investigating metals incorporated in proteins has been developed by chemists in France and Poland.
Ryszard Lobinski and colleagues have synthesised a selenium-containing protein (selenoprotein) standard, which they have used to devise an analytical method based on state of the art elemental and molecular mass spectrometry.
Selenoproteins have attracted interest in recent years because of the role selenium is thought to play in cancer prevention, although the processes involved are not fully understood. Traditional methods for analysing selenoproteins involve using radioactive tracers, making human studies impossible.
With the availability of Lobinski's protein standard, study in this area will be helped considerably. Work is continuing to optimise these methods, particularly for sample preparation, so they can be applied to animal and human samples. Niamh O'Connor