Corthals A, Koller A, Martin DW, Rieger R, Chen EI, et al. (2012) Detecting the Immune System Response of a 500 Year-Old Inca Mummy. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41244. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041244

Disease detection in historical samples currently relies on DNA extraction and amplification, or immunoassays. These techniques only establish pathogen presence rather than active disease. The study reports the first use of shotgun proteomics to detect the protein expression profile of buccal swabs and cloth samples from two 500-year-old Andean mummies. The profile of one of the mummies is consistent with immune system response to severe pulmonary bacterial infection at the time of death. Presence of a probably pathogenic Mycobacterium sp. in one buccal swab was confirmed by DNA amplification, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses. The study provides positive evidence of active pathogenic infection in an ancient sample for the first time. The protocol introduced here is less susceptible to contamination than DNA-based or immunoassay-based studies. In scarce forensic samples, shotgun proteomics narrows the range of pathogens to detect using DNA assays, reducing cost. This analytical technique can be broadly applied for detecting infection in ancient samples to answer questions on the historical ecology of specific pathogens, as well as in medico-legal cases when active pathogenic infection is suspected.

Download Now will open in new tab

Related Products

forensicGEM Universal

MicroGEM's forensicGEM Universal Kit provides users with a single tube solution for extracting DNA from a variety of forensically-relevant human samples.

Extracts DNA from forensic samples including saliva (liquid, swab, stains, storage card – FTA), blood (liquid, swab, stains, storage card – FTA), and tissue (solid, hair).

Produces high-quality single-stranded DNA proven for use with STR, PCR, qPCR and whole genome amplification.

Each kit contains forensicGEM, Histosolv, BLUE buffer, RED+ buffer and ORANGE+ buffer.

View Product