Advances and Utility of the Human Plasma Proteome


Human blood provides an easily obtainable, extensive, and sensitive diagnostic material for the assessment of wellness and disease in individuals and populations. The abundance of proteins and their primary isoforms, alternative splice isoforms, post-translational modifications (PTMs), and protein sequence variants provide a distinct snapshot into the current function of the circulatory system and all organs with which blood comes in contact.

In an article in Journal of Proteome Research, the authors show that the study of proteins circulating in blood offers tremendous opportunities to diagnose, stratify, or possibly prevent diseases. With recent technological advances and the urgent need to understand the effects of COVID-19, the proteomic analysis of blood-derived serum and plasma has become even more important for studying human biology and pathophysiology. Views and perspectives about technological developments and possible clinical applications that use mass-spectrometry(MS)- or affinity-based methods are provided. We discuss examples where plasma proteomics contributed valuable insights into SARS-CoV-2 infections, aging, and hemostasis and the opportunities offered by combining proteomics with genetic data.

As a contribution to the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) Human Plasma Proteome Project (HPPP), the scientists present the Human Plasma PeptideAtlas build 2021-07 that comprises 4395 canonical and 1482 additional nonredundant human proteins detected in 240 MS-based experiments. In addition, they report the new Human Extracellular Vesicle PeptideAtlas 2021-06, which comprises five studies and 2757 canonical proteins detected in extracellular vesicles circulating in blood, of which 74% (2047) are in common with the plasma PeptideAtlas. The overview summarizes the recent advances, impactful applications, and ongoing challenges for translating plasma proteomics into utility for precision medicine.

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