Much research in comparative biochemistry is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to and survive diverse environmental challenges. In recent years, genomic and proteomic approaches have been key drivers of advancement in the field, for example, providing knowledge about gene and protein expression, regulation of signal transduction pathways, and functional control of enzymes/proteins by reversible protein phosphorylation. Advances in comparative biochemistry have always drawn upon conceptual and technological advances that arise from "mainline" biochemistry and molecular biology, often from medical models. The present article discusses three such advances that will have major impacts on comparative biochemistry in the 21st century. The first is the crucial role of posttranslational modification in metabolic control, expanding outwards from reversible phosphorylation to explore the individual and interacting effects of protein modification by acetylation, methylation, SUMOylation and O-GlcNAcylation, among others. The second is the newly recognized role of non-coding RNA in the regulation of gene expression, particularly the action of microRNAs. The third is the emergence of powerful multiplex technology that allows rapid, high-throughput detection of analytes and will revolutionize RNA and protein profiling in the comparative biochemistry laboratory. Commercial tools such as Luminex allow researchers to simultaneously quantify up to 100 different analytes in a single sample, thereby creating broad functional analyses of metabolism and cell signaling pathways.

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Keywords Biochemical adaptation, Enzyme regulation, Luminex technology, MicroRNA, Multiplex assay systems, Posttranscriptional regulation, Posttranslational modification
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.01.019
Journal Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Citation
Storey, K, & Wu, C.-W. (Cheng-Wei). (2013). Stress response and adaptation: A new molecular toolkit for the 21st century. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology (Vol. 165, pp. 417–428). doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.01.019