organ_protein_map The preliminary mapping of The Human Protein Atlas projects first detailed protein expression map was unveiled this week in Stockholm. This map, for the first time, includes a detailed display of systemic proteins, meaning of specific origin throughout the human body, with millions of high-resolution photographs showing the spatial distributions of proteins and their area of operation.

Among the 44 varieties of human tissue, 20 different cancer types, along with 46 distinct human cell lines, these investigators assessed an estimated 20,000 different protein-coding regions within the human genome using a blend of antibody, transcriptomics, proteomics, and genomics-based profiling techniques.


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As further validation to the accuracy of their analysis, the study reported that approximately 15% of proteins were found in one or more tissues & organs, including those from particular tissues, such as insulin and troponin. The researchers also found that tissues with the highest level of protein enhancement were the testes, followed by the brain and the liver.

An intriguing insight to the report came unexpectedly with they found that 30% of the 618 proteins targeted by clinically approved medicines, showed expression in every tissue that was examined.

We show that 70% of the current targets for approved pharmaceutical drugs are either secreted or membrane-bound proteins," said Professor Mathias Uhlen, Program Director. "Interestingly, 30% of these protein targets are found in all analyzed tissues and organs. This could help explain some side effects of drugs and thus might have consequences for future drug development.

This most recent work comes as an update to the November 2014 launch of a distribution map showing all the human proteins in all of their primary tissues and organs of origin in the body.

The Human Protein Atlas is a multi-national research project that aims to catalog and maintain the inventory of human proteins as an open-source database and interactive map.


Image Credit: Images Courtesy of and Copyright ®2015 by The Human Protein Atlas.


[1] The Human Protein Atlas. [January 28, 2015].