Urine Phenotyping Core

Core Director
John C. Lieske, M.D.

Nephrolithiasis is common, affecting up to 10% of the population. Symptomatic stone episodes produce significant pain and suffering, as well as great individual and societal economic costs. Much effort has been directed towards understanding metabolic abnormalities that can increase urinary supersaturation, which is clearly one key factor that initiates and favors stone growth. However, crystal–crystal and crystal-cell interactions also appear to be critical events during the early stages of stone formation. Therefore, increased understanding of the factors that modulate the interface of urinary proteins and crystals, and hence their subsequent interaction with other crystals or cells, is a necessary prerequisite for identifying new therapeutic targets. Such knowledge will in turn enable development of new strategies for the treatment and prevention of renal stone disease.

Therefore, the urinary phenotyping core serves 4 key functions in support of this Urology O'Brien Center:

  1. Quantification of urinary components of the supersaturation profile;
  2. Quantification of urinary inhibitor activity;
  3. Quantification of known urinary macromolecular inhibitors; and
  4. Application of differential proteomics to urine samples of stone forming and control populations.

The Urinary Phenotyping Core directly supports Project 2 and Project 3, and Pilot Project 2, although it may also be of value for pilot projects initiated during later years of the Center's activities:

Given the explosion of proteomic techniques and its ready applications to urine, this core will provide Urology O'Brien Center researchers ready access to a modern proteomics tool kit, taking advantage of resources and expertise of the Mayo Proteomics Research Center (MPRC). This includes access to the latest mass spectrometer technology available, as well as bioinformatics resources necessary to analyze and interpret the large data sets typically produced in modern proteomics experiments.