MAY 31, 2021 7:00 AM PDT

Researchers Create the First Saliva Wiki

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

A new digital platform, developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo, is answering the question: what’s our spit saying about our health? The Human Salivary Proteome Wiki—the first of its kind—contains data on the many thousands of proteins present in saliva. The wiki is a rich source of information gathered from a multitude of independent studies and was created as a means of accelerating the development of saliva-based diagnostics and personalized medicine tools.

“This community-based data and knowledge base will pave the way to harness the full potential of the salivary proteome for diagnosis, risk prediction and therapy for oral and systemic diseases, and increase preparedness for future emerging diseases and pandemics,” said the lead investigator of the study, Stefan Ruhl.

Saliva plays a multifaceted role in the body, from initiating digestion to protecting against harmful pathogens in the mouth. Because it’s an easy-to-collect biological specimen, it’s particularly desirable as a source of biomarkers for noninvasive diagnostics such as the spit test widely used to track COVID-19 cases. 

However, saliva is also an incredibly complex biological fluid, containing a myriad of molecules, many of which have yet to be linked as markers of disease. The creation of the new Wiki paves the way for scientists and drug developers looking for a centralized source of data on human saliva.

The Human Salivary Proteome Wiki, initially launched in 2019, contains proteomic, genomic, transcriptomic data, as well as data on the glycome, sugar molecules present on salivary glycoproteins. New data goes through an interdisciplinary team of curators, which ensures that all input data is accurate and scientifically sound.

“Saliva has become an attractive body fluid for on-site, remote, and real-time monitoring of oral and systemic health,” commented William Lau, first author of the study. “The scientific community needs a saliva-centered information platform that keeps pace with the rapid accumulation of new data and knowledge.”

 

 

Sources: Journal of Dental Research, University at Buffalo.


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
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