The building blocks of life

All major human tissues and organs analyzed for protein expression.
A network plot of the tissue enriched (red) and group enriched (orange) genes connected to their respective tissue (grey).

Tissue-based map of the human proteome

The effort to map the human proteome gives new insights on human health and disease.

The Human Protein Atlas, a large-scale multidisciplinary project supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation in Sweden, is mapping all human proteins to their location in the body. The project, which was initiated a decade ago, has engaged researchers from many different disciplines and to date annotated over 13 million images showing the localization of our proteins in the human body on a cellular and sub-cellular level. All images and data are publicly available at the web portal Human Protein Atlas.

  • Almost half of the genes are expressed in all cells of the human body, this is the housekeeping proteome
  • Very few proteins are unique for one tissue (tissue-specific), as visualized by the interactive networkplot
  • All drugs in the world are directed towards only 3% of the proteins of the human body, this is discussed in the druggable proteome

    A future challenge for the Human Protein Atlas is to find the yet missing proteins. Approximately 9% of the putative human protein-coding genes were not detected at the RNA level in any of the 32 analyzed tissues. However, many of these are expected to be expressed in more specific regions of the human body not covered by the standard set of tissues in the Human Protein Atlas, such as retina, sebaceous glands, taste buds, the olfactory system, or various regions of the human brain. Data will continuously be added to the Human Protein Atlas, and future focus will be on the brain, the subcellular localization of all proteins, extended protein expression data on cancer and other diseased tissues.

    More insights on the human proteome are discussed in the Tissue-based map of the human proteome Uhlén et al. 2015

    Also read Towards a knowledge-based Human Protein Atlas Uhlén et al. 2010