Macquarie University
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Development of a novel sample preparation method for bioarchaeological proteomics

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posted on 2022-04-26, 01:29 authored by Dylan MultariDylan Multari

Ancient proteomic analysis has been shown to have several advantages over ancient DNA studies, largely due to the ability of proteins to survive over longer periods of time. Typically, sampling of bioarchaeological material for proteomics has involved the use of drills and hammers, which presents an issue when working with museums and other heritage organisations. There are a few studies in the literature on the use of specifically manufactured sampling tapes for the minimally-invasive analysis of paintings and frescoes, but no evidence of their application to human remains. This thesis deals with the development of a novel minimally-invasive sample preparation technique for application in the mass spectrometric analysis of bioarchaeological materials. By applying commercially available, dermatology-grade skin sampling strips to modern skin surfaces as a surrogate, an extraction protocol was developed, and subsequently applied to numerous skull and bone fragments belonging to a 26th Dynasty Egyptian Mummy in the collection of the Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, Australia. Extracted proteins were separated on protein gels and in-gel digested, and resulting peptides were analysed by nanoflow liquid chromatography – high resolution tandem mass spectrometry. We have identified keratins and collagens as expected, but have also found a number of ancient intracellular and brain proteins on the skull and bone fragments. This successful proof-of-concept study holds great promise for exciting further optimisation and application.


Table of Contents

1 Introduction -- 2 Methodology -- 3 Results and Discussion -- 4 Conclusion and Future Directions -- References -- Appendix 1 -- Appendix 2


"25 October, 2019" A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the graduating criteria for the Masters of Research Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-58)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Molecular Sciences, 2019

Department, Centre or School

Department of Molecular Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Paul A. Haynes


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Dylan Multari 2019.




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