First Major Analysis of Human Protein Atlas Published in Science–20,000 Protein-Coding Genes Scrutinized, Cancer-Related Proteins and Targets for All Approved Drugs Described, Clues to Drug Side Effects Offered

A research article published in the January 23, 2015 issue of Science presents the first major analysis based on the Human Protein Atlas, including a detailed picture of the proteins that are linked to cancer, the number of proteins present in the bloodstream, and the targets for all approved drugs on the market. The Human Protein Atlas (, a major multinational research project supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, recently launched (November 6, 2014) an open-source, tissue-based interactive map of the human proteome. Based on 13 million annotated images, the database maps the distribution of proteins in all major tissues and organs in the human body, showing both proteins restricted to certain tissues, such as the brain, heart, or liver, and those present in all tissues and organs. As an open-access resource, it is expected to help drive the development of new diagnostics and drugs, but also to provide basic insights in normal human biology. In the Science article, "Tissue-Based Atlas of the Human Proteome," the approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes in humans have been analyzed and classified using a combination of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and antibody-based profiling, says the article's lead author, Dr. Mathias Uhlén, Professor of Microbiology at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the director of the Human Protein Atlas program. The analysis shows that almost half of the protein-coding genes are expressed in a ubiquitous manner and thus found in all analyzed tissues. Approximately 15% of the genes show an enriched expression in one or several tissues or organs, including well-known tissue-specific proteins, such as insulin and troponin.
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