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New Publication: DeamiDATE used to authenticate ancient proteins

Posted on 31 January 2020

Paola Ponce and colleagues publish a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Sciences

DeamiDATE is a tool designed to investigate the structure of the proteins recovered from archaeological material, in order to distinguish whether the proteins recovered are contaminants or genuinely ancient. Ponce and colleagues recommend only authentic proteins, which can be identified with deamiDATE, are used in further analysis.

This paper is about Palaeoproteomics, the study of ancient proteins. It highlights how the discipline is pushing the frontiers of archaeological science, allowing researchers to find out new information about the past.

During the excavation and curation process, artefacts are sometimes contaminated with modern proteins, which can lead scientists to draw erroneous conclusions. 

Title: DeamiDATE 1.0: Site-specific deamidation as a tool to assess authenticity of members of ancient proteomes

Abstract: Contamination is a potential problem in the study of ancient proteins, either from prior handling of the sample, laboratory consumables, or cross-sample carryover from mass spectrometers. Recently, deamidation of glutamine has been proposed as a measure for assessing the degradation of ancient proteins. Here, we present deamiDATE 1.0, a method for the authentication of ancient proteins using measure of site-specific deamidation rates. We test this approach on shotgun proteomic data derived from bone collagen from modern, archaeological and extinct taxa. We further demonstrate how this method may be used to differentiate between modern contaminants and authentic ancient proteins using a case study from Neolithic dental calculus

Rams√łe, A., van Heekeren, V., Ponce, P., Fischer, R., Barnes, I., Speller, C., & Collins, M. J. (2020). DeamiDATE 1.0: Site-specific deamidation as a tool to assess authenticity of members of ancient proteomes. Journal of Archaeological Science, 115, 105080.