First-ever draft sequence of the human proteome mapped successfully

Two decades after the release of the human genome—the genetic “blueprint” of human life—an international team of researchers, including Chris Overall from the University of British Columbia, has mapped the first-ever draft sequence of the human proteome.

First-ever draft sequence of the human proteome mapped successfully
Dr Chris Overall. Image Credit: University of British Columbia.

The study was published in the Nature Communications journal on October 16th, 2020, and presented by the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) on October 19th, 2020. Overall is the only Canadian scientist to contribute to the Nature Communications paper.

Today marks a significant milestone in our overall understanding of human life. Whereas the human genome provides a complete ‘blueprint’ of human genes, the human proteome identifies the individual building blocks of life encoded by this blueprint: proteins. Proteins interact to shape everything from life-threatening diseases to cellular structure in our bodies.”

Dr Chris Overall, Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia

Overall is also a member of the Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia

According to Overall, mapping of 90% of the proteins in the human body has helped researchers have a better interpretation of how individual proteins interact to influence human health, thus offering insights into disease prevention and individualized medicine.

Their research could be beneficial for researchers who study possible treatments for COVID-19.

In COVID-19, for instance, there are two proteomes involved, that of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that of the infected cells, both of which likely interact with, modify, and change the function of the other. Understanding this relationship can shed light on why some cells and individuals are more resilient to COVID-19 and others more vulnerable, providing essential functional information about the human body that genomics alone cannot answer.”

Dr Chris Overall, Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia

Since several diseases in humans are caused by variations in the functions or composition of proteins, mapping the proteome reinforces the basis for disease diagnosis, prediction of results, treatment, and precision medicine.

Humans share 99.9 per cent of their DNA between individuals, yet deficiencies in the proteome ‘parts’ stemming from inherited genetic mutations can lead to genetic diseases, or defective or inadequate immune and cellular responses to environmental, nutritional and infection stressors.”

Dr Chris Overall, Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia

Overall added, “Knowing which proteins are key to protection from disease, and the deficiencies in expression or activity that are hallmarks of disease, can inform individualized medicine and the development of new therapies.”

Source:
Journal reference:

Adhikari, S., et al. (2020) A high-stringency blueprint of the human proteome. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19045-9.

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