Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human protein atlas will help pinpoint disease

20.10.2008
A map of where proteins are located in tissues and cells could help scientists understand the molecular basis of diseases such as cancer

Researchers in Sweden are compiling a remarkable 'atlas' that pinpoints the location of thousands of individual proteins in the body's tissues and cells which will give scientists important insights into the function of different proteins and how changes in the distribution of proteins could be reflected in diseases such as cancer.

Professor Mathias Uhlén of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, who is leading the project, said, "We are trying to map the building blocks of life."

The project is hugely ambitious, relying on the selective identification and mapping of thousands of proteins, many of whose function is not yet known, and has required the development of a massive infrastructure to enable the proteins to be identified in a realistic period of time.

Uhlén was describing the human protein atlas at the European Science Foundation's 3rd Functional Genomics Conference in Innsbruck, Austria, on 1-4 October. Functional genomics describes the way in which genes and their products, proteins, interact together in complex networks in living cells. If these interactions are abnormal, diseases can result. The Innsbruck meeting brought together more than 450 scientists from across Europe to discuss recent advances in the role of functional genomics in disease.

The protein atlas team first uses the human genome - the sequence of all the 20000 or so genes in human cells - to encode individual proteins. They then develop 'antibodies' - protein molecules that recognise specific targets - against each of these proteins. The antibody that recognises a given protein is then labelled with a marker to render it visible under a microscope and is exposed to samples of different tissues and cells. The antibody binds to the proteins and in this way the location of the protein can be detected.

"To do this systematically requires a lot of automation and robotics," Uhlén said. "We have six software engineers writing codes just to keep track on the samples. The project is generating 400 gigabytes of data every day." There is a 100-strong team working on the project, with a site due to be set up soon in India, and with antibody-producing sites in Korea and China.

"To get an idea of how far we have come, in our first year we produced on antibody," said Uhlén. "This year we are hoping we can make 3000." The programme was launched in 2003, and with sufficient funding the first full version of the atlas could be available by 2014, Uhlén believes.

The team has so far mapped the location of around 5000 proteins in human cells and tissues. The researchers are also investigating whether certain common cancers - colon, prostate, lung and breast - have different protein profiles to normal tissue. In this way new 'biomarkers' could be identified - molecules which indicate that a tissue or cell is in a diseased state, which could alert doctors to the early stages of a disease.

Thomas Lau | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esf.org/index.php?id=700
http://www.esf.org

Further reports about: Atlas Cancer Disease Human protein atlas Protein Uhlén genomics in human cells prostate proteins

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>