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Plasma peptidome profiling of acute hepatitis E patients by MALDI-TOF/TOF

Shikha Taneja1, Imran Ahmad1, Somdutta Sen26, Saravanan Kumar3, Reena Arora2, Vijay K Gupta4, Rakesh Aggarwal5, Krishnamoorthy Narayanasamy26, Vanga S Reddy3 and Shahid Jameel1*

Author Affiliations

1 Virology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi - 110067, India

2 The Centre for Genomic Applications, Okhla Industrial Area (Phase III), New Delhi - 110020, India

3 Plant Transformation Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi - 110067, India

4 Department of Gastroenterology, Army Hospital, Delhi Cantonment, New Delhi - 110010, India

5 Department of Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareli Road, Lucknow - 226014, India

6 Sphaera Pharma Research and Development, 32, Sector 5, IMT Manesar, Haryana - 122051, India

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Proteome Science 2011, 9:5  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-9-5

Published: 4 February 2011



Hepatitis E is endemic to resource-poor regions, where it manifests as sporadic cases and large waterborne outbreaks. The disease severity ranges from acute self-limited hepatitis with low mortality to fulminant hepatic failure with high mortality. It is believed that the host response plays an important role in determining the progression and outcome of this disease. We profiled the plasma peptidome from hepatitis E patients to discover suitable biomarkers and understand disease pathogenesis.


The peptidome (< 10 kDa) fraction of plasma was enriched and analyzed by mass spectrometry. A comparative analysis of the peptide pattern of hepatitis E patients versus healthy controls was performed using ClinPro Tools. We generated a peptide profile that could be used for selective identification of hepatitis E cases. We have identified five potential biomarker peaks with m/z values of 9288.6, 7763.6, 4961.5, 1060.572 and 2365.139 that can be used to reliably differentiate between hepatitis E patients and controls with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) values of 1.00, 0.954, 0.989, 0.960 and 0.829 respectively. A number of proteins involved in innate immunity were identified to be differentially present in the plasma of patients compared to healthy controls.


Besides the utility of this approach for biomarker discovery, identification of changes in endogenous peptides in hepatitis E patient plasma has increased our understanding of disease pathogenesis. We have identified peptides in plasma that can reliably distinguish hepatitis E patients from healthy controls. Results from this and an earlier proteomics study are discussed.