Over the 12 years of the project, scientists from the global collaboration have identified 25% of the total proteins, increasing from 13,588 proteins to 18,467 proteins, reaching 93.5% of the human proteome.
This is its great merit. “In addition to understanding how these proteins are expressed, we also know how they behave and what modifications they have,” said researcher Sergio Manuel Encarnación Guevara, founder and director of the Proteomics Laboratory at the Center for Genome Sciences (CCG) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. said. , the headquarters of the Mexican consortium participating in the World Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) project.
The biomedical research doctor explained that HUPO’s C-HPP consists of 25 groups bringing together more than 400 scientists from 20 countries and is tasked with studying each of the 24 human chromosomes and the mitochondrial genome…, Especially proteins or gene products.
“Our goal is to find rigorous evidence for all the proteins encoded by the human genome. That is, if we have more than 19,500 genes, find at least one protein from each of them in some part of a human cell or tissue, ” added who is also a member of the National Level III Researchers System.
These efforts began in 2011, with the National University joining in 2018. Together with colleagues from Canada, the United States and Brazil – the only country on the American continent to collaborate – Mexican scientists are working to identify and assign the protein’s function. Chromosome 19.
“When we started studying this chromosome, 16.6% of the proteins were unidentified, that is, it was not known which proteins this percentage of genes encoded. Currently about 5.5% remain. We have made important progress, the Mexican consortium did He has made a great contribution,” the expert said.
The project is scheduled to end in 2028. “Future challenges are important because the remaining proteins are increasingly difficult to localize because we have to do so in understudied conditions, such as in rare diseases, because maybe we will discover the expression of the gene and its product: the protein, ” explained the college student.
The study had two goals: to locate all the proteins made up of the human genome, and to identify their functions and build a map of their structure and interactions, since they do not work alone. This is critical to elucidating their biological functions and their role in health and disease, as well as advancing the understanding and treatment of disease.
Encarnación Guevara explained that some of the chromosomes 19 assigned to the Mexican consortium are associated with many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, familial hypercholesterolemia, congenital hyperthyroidism and various cancer.
“It is crucial for us to define the human proteome as comprehensively as possible, because when the complete goal is achieved, it will contribute greatly to personalized medicine, that is, each person can have their own expression based on way to carry out their own treatment of their proteome,” he emphasizes.
Understanding the complete catalog of proteins is important if you want to understand how cells behave in health and disease. “Because every cancerous tissue, or healthy tissue; brain tissue from someone with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease is going to have a specific set of proteins, and we want to know what proteins they express so that we can use them as therapeutic targets. point or diagnostic target,” he added.
University Expert – Former HUPO Executive Committee Member, Recently Elected to HUPO Executive Committee Chromosome-centric human proteome project- Nearly 1,200 identified proteins, but whose functions are unknown, are described and are known as UPE1 or the cellular dark proteome.
About 70 proteins on chromosome 19 belong to the dark proteome and are being studied by a Mexican consortium; they have found that at least five of them are linked to cancer.
“We have inactivated them and studied their functions, and we know the role they play in cancer cell proliferation, drug resistance and tumor dynamics,” said the UNAM scholar.