Humanity’s building blocks can now be understood thanks to "Deep Proteome" project

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A group of researchers has announced a breakthrough in the study of human proteomics. The team, led by Joshua Coon, professor of biomolecular chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has published the results of a comprehensive study that maps the human proteome, or the complete set of proteins that are expressed in human cells.

The study, dubbed the "Deep Proteome" project, provides a detailed atlas of human complexity, and promises to revolutionize our understanding of human biology and disease. The research was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology (1).

According to the researchers, the human proteome is significantly more complex than previously thought. The team was able to identify over 1 million peptides from around 17,000 protein groups, in addition to detecting approximately 80% of individual proteins’ sequences compared to standard approaches that sequence ~20% of proteins. This represents a major advance in the field of proteomics, which has long been hampered by the difficulty of detecting low-abundance proteins.

The researchers used cutting-edge mass spectrometry techniques to analyze thousands of human tissue and cell samples. The resulting dataset is the largest and most comprehensive proteomic resource ever generated, providing an unprecedented level of detail about the human proteome. The team also found evidence of extensive alternative splicing and post-translational modifications. These findings highlight the complexity of human biology and the need for more sophisticated tools to study it.


The implications of the Deep Proteome project are significant. The atlas provides a valuable resource for researchers studying human biology and disease, and could help mitigate the probability of generating false positives in data research. Now, scientists intend to establish its relevance in solving essential biological questions.

Overall, the Deep Proteome project represents a major advance in our understanding of human biology, and provides a powerful new tool for researchers studying proteins.


(1) Sinitcyn, P., Richards, A.L., Weatheritt, R.J. et al. Global detection of human variants and isoforms by deep proteome sequencing. Nat Biotechnol (2023).