The human oral cavity is a complex ecosystem where host, microbial and environmental factors interact in a dynamic equilibrium reflected in the fluid saliva. The understanding of the biology of the oral cavity and the disturbances affecting it (or the systemic diseases mirrored in it) depends on bioinformatics tools to compile, integrate and apply the information generated by high throughput techniques such as proteomics, which is devoted to the identification of expressed proteins. Several proteomes of the oral cavity have been published in the last decade. A tool to compile, integrate and interpret the data generated by the several studies is still not available. The aim of this work is to contribute to the development of a bioinformatics tool which allows researchers to study the diversity and variability of proteins in the oral proteome defining and characterizing the oralome (physiome of the oral cavity). In this study, the proteomes of the oral cavity published in the last decade were compiled and information regarding the proteins identified was curated. This process generated a large quantity of information leading to the creation of the OralOme database and the OraCard web portal. With OralCard the user may search, integrate, interpret and visualize the data extracting biological and clinical meaning. The study of the proteins in the OralOme contributes to the understanding of the molecular functions of the proteins produced by the various sub compartments of the oral cavity and therefore for the establishment of their contribution to salivary functions. Furthermore, several functionalities of OralCard in the analysis of proteomic data were tested, with the objective of developing analysis methodologies for the clarification of the molecular mechanisms involved in several pathologies and support the inclusion of functional improvements in future updates of the portal. The methodologies used allowed the study of the relationship between salivary proteins and oral and systemic health and therefore support the potential use of saliva as a diagnostic fluid. The development of bioinformatics tools such as OralCard are an important contribution to the understanding of oral biology and the development of strategies that allow the identification of biomarkers from saliva samples, contributing to the development of effective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic methods.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||31 May 2012|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|