Scientists have catalogued which proteins operate in each of the body’s 32 different types of tissue and what their functions are in relation to other types of tissue.
The discovery will be useful in the development of medicines capable of targeting specific diseases, according to the scientists behind the study
“The perspectives of mapping the body’s proteins are enormous. If, for instance we want to develop a drug that’s aimed specifically at the liver, it is now possible to determine which proteins are found in the liver and target the drug in such a way that it binds itself to precisely these proteins. This would make it possible to avoid any toxic effect on other tissue,” says Professor Jens Nielsen from Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, a university in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The study has been published in Science and the results received praise from Mats Wikström with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research.
“There’s no doubt that this will have a powerful influence on how medicine is developed in the future. It will also be a useful tool for many scientists when it comes to identifying proteins and biological pathways relevant to their own research. It will also help to deepen our understanding of a good many diseases,” says Wikström.
The body consists of a total of about 20,000 proteins. Approximately half of these are universal and found in all types of tissue. The other half consist of more or less unique proteins found in special types of tissue. Insulin is an example of a unique protein that is produced exclusively by one type of tissue in the pancreas.