Soluble Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor Related Protein 4 as a Non-Invasive Biomarker for Age Determination for Commercially Fished Verebrates and Invertebrates

Web Published:

Soluble low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 4 (sLRP4) as a non-invasive biomarker for age

Princeton Docket # 13-2884-1


Researchers at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences have discovered that sLRP4 may be useful as a biomarker for age determination in commercially fished invertebrates or vertebrates.  Estimating age of commercially important species is a key part of effective management of sustainable fisheries. Age data is necessary for stock assessments, and to develop management or conservation plans.  However current methods of age determination are laborious, affected by environmental factors and are often detrimental to the animal.


Sea urchins are fished commercially and pose many challenges for age estimations. It is not easy to conduct growth band counting on hard components and although size is often used as a proxy for age, it has been shown to be affected by food availability and other extrinsic factors. In an effort to develop alternative biomarkers of age, proteomic profiles were examined in coelomic fluid from young and old sea urchins of three species which have very different reported life spans; short-lived Lytechinus variegatus, long-lived Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus which has an intermediate life span. Proteins that change consistently with age in all three species may serve as useful biomarkers for age determination. Among the proteins that change with age, the ectodomain of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (sLRP4) is significantly increased in the coelomic fluid of all three sea urchin species and represents a novel candidate for development as a biomarker of age. It is envisioned that a diagnostic test could be developed in which the level of sLRP4 is detected in coelomic fluid samples by a specific binding molecule (e.g. antibody) coupled to a means of detecting this entity.

If it is determined that sLRP4 increases with age in bodily fluids of other commercially fished invertebrates or vertebrates this method could be widely used as a convenient and non-invasive technique for age determination for effective fisheries management.



·         Biomarker for the determination of biological age

·         Use in effective management of sustainable fisheries

·         Tool for studying age-related disease and therapies


·         Novel and non-invasive biomarker

·         Quantifiable , objective results

·         Potential to use readily available assay technology

·         Ease of use



Bodnar A.,  Proteomic profiles reveal age related changes in coelomic fluid of sea urchin species with different life spans, Experimental Gerontology; in press 8 February 2013



Dr. Andrea Bodnar received a PhD in Biochemistry from McMaster University in 1991. Since then she has studied different aspects of human cancer and aging in both academic and industry environments. She joined the faculty at BIOS in 2003 and has pursued research interests in investigating genome structure and gene expression in marine invertebrates during normal growth and under conditions of environmental stress with a focus on coral and sea urchins. Her current research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms underlying extreme longevity and resistance to cancer in certain marine invertebrates such as the red sea urchin.


Intellectual Property Status and technology status

Patent Pending. Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.



Laurie Tzodikov, Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing 

(609) 258-7256

Wenting Luo, Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing 

(609) 258-5579

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
Andrea Bodnar