The molecular mechanisms regulating myometrial contractility and preterm premature rupture of the membranes leading to preterm birth are poorly understood. The completion of the human genome sequence led to the development of functional genomics and gene array technology to simultaneously identify candidate genes potentially involved in regulation of human parturition. However, the study of living systems can now be expanded past genomics based on the rationale that it is the protein products of the genes, not simply gene expression, that have effects and cause disturbances at the cellular level. Therefore, identification of disease biomarkers, followed by a description of their functional networks, has the potential to significantly aid the development of new strategies for the prediction, diagnosis, and prevention of preterm birth. Interest in mass spectrometry and its use as a new clinical diagnostic tool has grown rapidly and is poised to become an important medical field for the next century.
Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians
After completion of this article, the reader should be able to state the general concept of proteomics, summarize the use of proteomics as a potential clinical tool as a biomarker of disease, and recall that proteomics can be a means for understanding mechanisms of disease states.