A proteomics view of the molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of glaucomatous neurodegeneration

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Despite improving understanding of glaucoma, key molecular players of neurodegeneration that can be targeted for treatment of glaucoma, or molecular biomarkers that can be useful for clinical testing, remain unclear. Proteomics technology offers a powerful toolbox to accomplish these important goals of the glaucoma research and is increasingly being applied to identify molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of glaucoma. Recent studies of glaucoma using proteomics analysis techniques have resulted in the lists of differentially expressed proteins in human glaucoma and animal models. The global analysis of protein expression in glaucoma has been followed by cell-specific proteome analysis of retinal ganglion cells and astrocytes. The proteomics data have also guided targeted studies to identify post-translational modifications and protein–protein interactions during glaucomatous neurodegeneration. In addition, recent applications of proteomics have provided a number of potential biomarker candidates. Proteomics technology holds great promise to move glaucoma research forward toward new treatment strategies and biomarker discovery. By reviewing the major proteomics approaches and their applications in the field of glaucoma, this article highlights the power of proteomics in translational and clinical research related to glaucoma and also provides a framework for future research to functionally test the importance of specific molecular pathways and validate candidate biomarkers.

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