Research Uncovers 193 Proteins Never Known to Exist

    Discoveries hail from cataloging human proteins

    Striving for the protein equivalent of the Human Genome Project, an international team of researchers has created an initial catalog of the human “proteome,” or all of the proteins in the human body. In total, using 30 different human tissues, the team identified proteins encoded by 17,294 genes, which is about 84 percent of all of the genes in the human genome predicted to encode proteins.

    In a summary of the effort, to be published May 29 in the journal Nature, the team also reports the identification of 193 novel proteins that came from regions of the genome not predicted to code for proteins, suggesting that the human genome is more complex than previously thought. The cataloging project, led by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore, India, should prove an important resource for biological research and medical diagnostics, according to the team’s leaders.

    “You can think of the human body as a huge library where each protein is a book,” says Akhilesh Pandey, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and of biological chemistry, pathology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University and the founder and director of the Institute of Bioinformatics. “The difficulty is that we don’t have a comprehensive catalog that gives us the titles of the available books and where to find them. We think we now have a good first draft of that comprehensive catalog.”

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