Research Article

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 19, pp 3709-3722

Paleoproteomic study of the Iceman’s brain tissue

  • Frank MaixnerAffiliated withInstitute for Mummies and the Iceman, EURAC research
  • , Thorsten OverathAffiliated withDivision for Systematic Proteome Research, Institute for Experimental Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • , Dennis LinkeAffiliated withDivision for Systematic Proteome Research, Institute for Experimental Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • , Marek JankoAffiliated withCenter of Smart Interfaces, TU Darmstadt
  • , Gea GuerrieroAffiliated withDepartment Environment and Agro-biotechnologies (EVA), Centre de Recherche Public-Gabriel Lippmann
  • , Bart H. J. van den BergAffiliated withDivision for Systematic Proteome Research, Institute for Experimental Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • , Bjoern StadeAffiliated withInstitute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • , Petra LeidingerAffiliated withDepartment of Human Genetics, Saarland University
  • , Christina BackesAffiliated withDepartment of Human Genetics, Saarland University
    • , Marta JaremekAffiliated withSiemens Healthcare
    • , Benny KneisslAffiliated withSoftware Engineering and Bioinformatics, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz
    • , Benjamin MederAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine III, University of Heidelberg
    • , Andre FrankeAffiliated withInstitute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
    • , Eduard Egarter-ViglAffiliated withInstitute for Mummies and the Iceman, EURAC researchDepartment of Pathological Anatomy and Histology, General Hospital Bolzano
    • , Eckart MeeseAffiliated withDepartment of Human Genetics, Saarland University
    • , Andreas SchwarzAffiliated withInstitute for Mummies and the Iceman, EURAC researchDepartment of Neurosurgery, General Hospital Bolzano
    • , Andreas TholeyAffiliated withDivision for Systematic Proteome Research, Institute for Experimental Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
    • , Albert ZinkAffiliated withInstitute for Mummies and the Iceman, EURAC research
    • , Andreas KellerAffiliated withDepartment of Human Genetics, Saarland UniversitySiemens Healthcare Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

The Tyrolean Iceman, a Copper-age ice mummy, is one of the best-studied human individuals. While the genome of the Iceman has largely been decoded, tissue-specific proteomes have not yet been investigated. We studied the proteome of two distinct brain samples using gel-based and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry-based proteomics technologies together with a multiple-databases and -search algorithms-driven data-analysis approach. Thereby, we identified a total of 502 different proteins. Of these, 41 proteins are known to be highly abundant in brain tissue and 9 are even specifically expressed in the brain. Furthermore, we found 10 proteins related to blood and coagulation. An enrichment analysis revealed a significant accumulation of proteins related to stress response and wound healing. Together with atomic force microscope scans, indicating clustered blood cells, our data reopens former discussions about a possible injury of the Iceman’s head near the site where the tissue samples have been extracted.

Keywords

Tyrolean Iceman Mummy Neolithic Paleoproteomics Mass spectrometry Brain proteome Ancient proteins