Published: 21.09.10
Science

Human proteome fully mapped

A research team from ETH Zurich, led by Professor Ruedi Aebersold, and from the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, has used mass spectroscopy methods to fully map the human proteome for the first time. The data is being made available to all researchers.

Peter Rueegg
The big wide world of proteins: Systems biologists at ETH Zurich and the IBS have drawn a complete map of the human proteome. (Image: e-pics/ETH Zurich)
The big wide world of proteins: Systems biologists at ETH Zurich and the IBS have drawn a complete map of the human proteome. (Image: e-pics/ETH Zurich) (large view)

A number not to be forgotten by anyone intending to work with the human genome on the one hand, and henceforth with the human proteome on the other. The reason is that this is the number of proteins which researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology (IBS) in Seattle and at ETH Zurich from the group led by Professor Ruedi Aebersold have recorded and identified using various mass spectrometry methods, and whose data they have entered into a database as a reference. The researchers describe this as the “Gold Standard Reference for the human proteome”.

“This reference database will now be made available to all biologists for further research,” said Ruedi Aebersold in an interview with ETH Life, “just as the human genome data from the ‘Human Genome Project’ was published openly at that time for all interested experts.” The researchers are making their data accessible via the ISB / ETH SRMAtlas. This database is part of the PeptideAtlas developed by the two institutions over the past few years. The researchers have just announced this at the Ninth Annual World Conference of the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) in Sydney.

Any samples are fully determinable

The proteome data enables researchers to determine the number and type of proteins in any kind of biological sample using various mass spectrometric measurements. This is an important development that will significantly improve the reliability and reproducibility of proteomics. The researchers hope it will greatly speed up fundamental and applied research.

Scientists working with Ruedi Aebersold at the Institute for Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich and various representatives of the ISB, which Aebersold co-founded, took part in the project. The Proteome Atlas project was financed on the one hand by funds received by the ISB from the US National Health Institute, and on the other Ruedi Aebersold obtained an ERC Advanced Grant in Proteomics, amounting to 2.4 million Euro paid out over five years.

 
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