USING BIOINFORMATICS TOOLS TO HELP DETERMINE IF HEAT SHOCK PROTEIN 70 (HSP70) IS A POTENTIAL BIOMARKER FOR HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA
Janeth Rodriguez1, Ming-Ying Leung1, Jianying Zhang1, Hugh Nicholas2.
1The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, 2Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer in the world and patients generally will die within a year of its detection due to the lack of early diagnostic methods. As heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is known to be overexpressed in HCC, it is important to determine if HSP70 can be a potential biomarker for the early detection of HCC. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) network databases were used to investigate whether HSP70 interacts with other known cancer-related proteins. If so, there is a high probability that HSP70 is specific to cancer and can be a potential biomarker for HCC. Once a correlation between HSP70 and HCC is found, then a homology analysis using proteins from the heat shock protein family is done in order to verify there are conserved regions across the protein family. An optimal biomarker has regions that are 90-100% conserved and can be also targeted by an antibody in the patientâ€™s sera. If a protein does not have highly conserved regions then it cannot serve as a good biomarker for cancer because there will be multiple mutations in the protein sequence that the antibody will not recognize. The results in this analysis will be used to help design wet-lab experiments for testing HSP70 as a possible biomarker and is expected to save valuable time and lab resources.