This week in techniques



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Chemical reporter approach using strain-promoted alkyne-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC) to track cellular glycoproteins

A chemical approach to track glycoprotein storage in cells could help identify therapeutics to treat Neimann-Pick type C (NPC). NPC involves impaired cholesterol efflux from cellular vesicles and altered trafficking of glycoproteins. In NPC fibroblasts lacking Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1) or NPC2, the SPAAC chemical reporter detected accumulated glycoproteins in intracellular vesicles that were distinct from those that accumulated cholesterol. In NPC fibroblasts, a compound that lowered cholesterol accumulation decreased both glycoprotein and cholesterol levels compared with no treatment. Next steps could include using the technology to screen for new therapeutics to treat NPC.

SciBX 6(25); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.641
Published online June 27, 2013

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Mbua, N.E. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online June 3, 2013;
Contact: Richard Steet, The University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
Contact: Geert-Jan Boons,
same affiliation as above