Current methods for the evaluation of post-mortem interval (PMI) of skeletal remains suffer from poor accuracy, due to the great number of variables that affect the diagenetic process and to the lack of specific guidelines to address this issue. During decomposition, proteins can undergo cumulative decay over the time, resulting in a decrease in the range and abundance of proteins present (i.e., the proteome) in different tissues as well as in an increase of post-translational modifications occurring on these proteins. In this study, we evaluate the applicability of bone proteomic analyses to simulated forensic contexts, looking for specific biomarkers that may help the estimation of PMI and evaluating a previously discovered marker for the estimation of biological age. We noticed a reduction of specific plasma and muscle proteins with increasing PMIs, as well as an increased deamidation of biglycan, a protein with a role in modulating bone growth and mineralization, which may be developed further for the estimation of PMI from a molecular perspective. We also corroborated our previous results regarding the use of fetuin-A as a potential biomarker for the estimation of age-at-death, demonstrating the applicability and the great potential that proteomics may have towards forensic sciences.
Procopio, N., Williams, A., Chamberlain, A. T., & Buckley, M. (2018). Forensic proteomics for the evaluation of the post-mortem decay in bones. Journal of Proteomics, 177, 21-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2018.01.016