Efficacy of Several Candidate Protein Biomarkers in the Differentiation of Vaginal from Buccal Epithelial Cells*

Forensic Biology Group, ESR Limited, Auckland, New Zealand. ESR Ltd, Mt Albert Science Centre, Private Bag 92021 Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.
Journal of Forensic Sciences (Impact Factor: 1.16). 05/2012; 57(6). DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02158.x
Source: PubMed


  Currently, there is no accurate method to differentiate vaginal epithelial cells from buccal epithelial cells in biological samples typically encountered in forensic casework. This study tested the expression of a selection of candidate proteins in buccal and vaginal epithelial cells. We investigated six candidate biomarkers, such as loricrin, vimentin, stratifin, cytokeratin 4, cytokeratin 13, small proline-rich protein 2, and involucrin, using Western blot analysis on whole protein extracts and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on intact cells in an attempt to identify cell-specific markers that would differentiate these cells by microscopy. Involucrin, loricrin, and stratifin showed differential expression during Western blot analysis and were carried through to IHC. Although proteins unique to vaginal epithelial cells and buccal epithelial cells were not identified from among the proteins tested, the increased expression levels of two proteins, loricrin and stratifin in vaginal cells, when compared to buccal cells, do provide encouraging results in the search for epithelial cell-specific markers.

Download full-text


Available from: Joanne L Simons
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Positive identification of the nature of biological material present on evidentiary items can be crucial for understanding the circumstances surrounding a crime. However, traditional protein-based methods do not permit the identification of all body fluids and tissues, and thus molecular based strategies for the conclusive identification of all forensically relevant biological fluids and tissues need to be developed. Messenger RNA (mRNA) profiling is an example of such a molecular-based approach. Current mRNA body fluid identification assays involve capillary electrophoresis (CE) or quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) platforms, each with its own limitations. Both platforms require the use of expensive fluorescently labeled primers or probes. CE-based assays require separate amplification and detection steps thus increasing the analysis time. For qRT-PCR assays, only 3-4 markers can be included in a single reaction since each requires a different fluorescent dye. To simplify mRNA profiling assays, and reduce the time and cost of analysis, we have developed single- and multiplex body fluid High Resolution Melt (HRM) assays for the identification of common forensically relevant biological fluids and tissues. The incorporated biomarkers include IL19 (vaginal secretions), IL1F7 (skin), ALAS2 (blood), MMP10 (menstrual blood), HTN3 (saliva) and TGM4 (semen). The HRM assays require only unlabeled PCR primers and a single saturating intercalating fluorescent dye (Eva Green). Each body-fluid-specific marker can easily be identified by the presence of a distinct melt peak. Usually, HRM assays are used to detect variants or isoforms for a single gene target. However, we have uniquely developed duplex and triplex HRM assays to permit the simultaneous detection of multiple targets per reaction. Here we describe the development and initial performance evaluation of the developed HRM assays. The results demonstrate the potential use of HRM assays for rapid, and relatively inexpensive, screening of biological evidence.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · F1000 Research
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Messenger RNA profiling is becoming a common method for body fluid identification in forensic science but there are disadvantages when cell mixtures are present from more than one individual. A method that could identify and separate such cell mixtures would simplify downstream analysis. To do this, we have developed a novel method of RNA suspension-fluorescent in situ hybridization (RNA S-FISH) using a locked nucleic acid (LNA) probe for the keratin 10 (KRT10) mRNA that is suitable as a potential marker for epithelial cells. As sample size may be restricted in forensic samples, this method has focused on minimizing cell loss whilst maintaining signal strength. Furthermore, we have shown that it is possible to obtain full DNA profiles from 150 RNA S-FISH labeled cells isolated using laser microdissection.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Forensic Science International: Genetics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vaginal foreshortening after pelvic surgery or radiotherapy may lead to dyspareunia and decreased quality of life. Unfortunately, little literature exists regarding treatment options for this debilitating problem. Autologous buccal mucosal grafting has been previously reported for creation of a total neovagina and the repair of postvaginoplasty vaginal stenosis. Autologous buccal mucosa offers several advantages as a replacement material for vaginal reconstruction. Vaginal and oral buccal mucosa are both hairless, moist, nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelia. Buccal mucosa has a dense layer of elastic fibers, imparting both elasticity and strength, and acquires a robust neovascularity with excellent graft take. The graft material is readily available and donor site scars are hidden in the mouth. A 60-year-old woman had vaginal foreshortening to 4.5 cm 15 years after radical hysterectomy and brachytherapy for endometrial cancer. She was unable to have intercourse despite attempted vaginal dilation. Her foreshortened vagina was successfully augmented with autologous buccal mucosa grafting at the apex, increasing her vaginal length to 8 cm and permitting pain-free intercourse. Even in the face of an altered surgical field after radical hysterectomy and radiation, autologous buccal mucosa is an option for vaginal reconstruction for vaginal foreshortening.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Obstetrics and Gynecology
Show more