Proteomics involves the systematic study of proteins in order to provide a comprehensive view of the structure, function and regulation of biological systems. Advances in instrumentation and methodologies have fueled an expansion of the scope of biological studies from simple biochemical analysis of single proteins to measurements of complex protein mixtures. Proteomics is rapidly becoming an essential component of biological research. Coupled with advances in bioinformatics, this approach to comprehensively describing biological systems will undoubtedly have a major impact on our understanding of the phenotypes of both normal and diseased cells.
Initially, proteomics focused on the generation of protein maps using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The field has since expanded to include not only protein expression profiling, but the analysis of post-translational modifications and protein-protein interactions. Protein expression, or the quantitative measurement of the global levels of proteins, may still be done with two-dimensional gels, however, mass spectrometry has been incorporated to increase sensitivity, specificity and to provide results in a high-throughput format. A variety of platforms are available to conduct protein expression studies and this site provides links to these resources.
The study of protein-protein interactions has been revolutionized by the development of protein microarrays. Analagous to DNA microarrays, these biochips are printed with antibodies or proteins and probed with a complex protein mixture. The intenisty or indentity of the resulting protein-protein interactions may be detected by fluorescence imaging or mass spectrometry. Other protein capture methods may be used in place of arrays, including the yeast two-hybrid system or the isolation of proteins/protein complexes by affinity chromatography or other separation techniques.