Small open reading frame (smORF)-encoded microproteins in vascular pathophysiology

Microproteins are very small proteins encoded by small open-reading frames (smORFs – shorter than 100 codons). Such microproteins can exert functions within a cell, as well as be released from the cell that generates them to potentially affect distant targets. Although little is known about specific microproteins there is an enormous potential for the discovery of novel intra- and inter-cellular mediators as well as biomarkers for disease. The IVS team and collaborators within the CardioPulmonary Institute have developed a novel proteo-genomic approach that has enabled the unbiased detection of previously non-annotated smORF-encoded microproteins in endothelial cells. Ongoing studies are aimed at investigating the relevance and mechanisms of action of selected smORF-encoded microproteins following endothelial cell activation and in cardiovascular disease as well as vascular repair.