Solvent interaction analysis as a proteomic approach to structure-based biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics

Expert Rev Proteomics. 2016;13(1):9-17. doi: 10.1586/14789450.2016.1116945. Epub 2015 Nov 26.


Proteins have several measurable features in biological fluids that may change under pathological conditions. The current disease biomarker discovery is mostly based on protein concentration in the sample as the measurable feature. Changes in protein structures, such as post-translational modifications and in protein-partner interactions are known to accompany pathological processes. Changes in glycosylation profiles are well-established for many plasma proteins in various types of cancer and other diseases. The solvent interaction analysis method is based on protein partitioning in aqueous two-phase systems and is highly sensitive to changes in protein structure and protein-protein- and protein-partner interactions while independent of the protein concentration in the biological sample. It provides quantitative index: partition coefficient representing changes in protein structure and interactions with partners. The fundamentals of the method are presented with multiple examples of applications of the method to discover and monitor structural protein biomarkers as disease-specific diagnostic indicators.

Keywords: aqueous two-phase partitioning; aqueous two-phase systems; cancer biomarkers; glycosylation; protein biomarkers; proteomics; solvent interaction analysis; structural biomarkers.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / chemistry
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / isolation & purification*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Nucleic Acids / isolation & purification
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteome / chemistry
  • Proteome / isolation & purification*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics
  • Solubility
  • Solvents


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Proteome
  • Solvents