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Draft Map of Human Proteome Published

In a recently published article in the journal Nature, researchers have developed a draft map of the human proteome.  Striving for the protein equivalent of the Human Genome Project, an international team of researchers has created an initial catalog of the human proteome. In total, using 30 different human tissues, the researchers identified proteins encoded by 17,294 genes, which is approximately 84 percent of all of the genes in the human genome predicted to encode proteins.

A major finding from the work was the discovery of over 190 novel proteins that are not predicted in the human genome.  This work shows the importance of not only studying the genome or transcriptome but also the need to study and understand the protein content of cells to understand cellular biology.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore, India led the protein-characterizing project that should prove an important resource for biological research and medical diagnostics, according to the team’s leaders.

“You can think of the human body as a huge library where each protein is a book,” says Akhilesh Pandey, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, founder and director of the Institute of Bioinformatics, and investigator in NCI's Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC). “The difficulty is that we don’t have a comprehensive catalog that gives us the titles of the available books and where to find them. We think we now have a good first draft of that comprehensive catalog.”

As Henry Rodriguez, Ph.D., M.B.A., Director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research notes, “This draft map complements the biomedical research in NCI’s CPTAC program that are characterizing tumors by using state-of-the-art proteomic methods and then comparing these findings to other diagnostic features including genomic characterization.”

In addition to publishing this initial draft, the researchers also developed an Interactive tool, Human Proteome Map, available to the research community at http://www.humanproteomemap.org. This web resource allows users to query the proteomic data as well as provide information for users to develop selected reaction monitoring (SRM) proteomic assays.

This work was supported by funds from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U54GM103520, P41GM103504), the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (U24CA160036), that National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (HHSN268201000032C), the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance.