Exploring Biological and Geological Age-related Changes through Variations in Intra-and Intertooth Proteomes of Ancient Dentine

Noemi Procopio, Andrew T Chamberlain, MIchael Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Proteomic analyses are becoming more widely used in archeology not only due to the greater preservation of proteins in ancient specimens than DNA but also because they can offer different information, particularly relating to compositional preservation and potentially a means to estimate biological and geological age. However, it remains unclear to what extent different burial environments impact these aspects of proteome decay. Teeth have to date been much less studied than bone but are ideal to explore how proteins decay with time due to the negligible turnover that occurs in dentine relative to bone. We investigated the proteome variability and deamidation levels of different sections of molar teeth from archeological bovine mandibles as well as their mandibular bone. We obtained a greater yield of proteins from the crown of the teeth but did not find differences between the different molars analyzed within each mandible. We also obtained the best variety of protein from a well-preserved mandible that was not the youngest one in terms of chronological age, showing the influence of the preservation conditions on the final proteomic outcome. Intriguingly, we also noticed an increase in abundance levels of fetuin-A in biologically younger mandibles as reported previously, but the opposite trend in tooth dentine. Interestingly, we observed higher glutamine deamidation levels in teeth from the geologically oldest mandible despite it being the biologically youngest specimen, showing that the archeological age strongly impacts on the level of deamidations observed, much more so than biological aging. This indicates that the glutamine deamidation ratio of selected peptides may act as a good predictor of the relative geochronological age of archeological specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1013
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


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