An image showing the assembly of the Human Proteome Reference Library

Source: © Subash Adhikari et al 2020

The collaborations involved in the Human Proteome Project to date

Ten years after its launch, the Human Proteome Project (HPP) has mapped out more than 90% of the proteins produced in the human body. The project aims to provide high quality data on all human proteins to improve our understanding of their biological roles and aid research on disease prevention and treatment.

‘Whereas the human genome provides a complete “blueprint” of human genes, the human proteome identifies the individual building blocks of life encoded by this blueprint: proteins,’ explained University of British Columbia proteomics researcher Chris Overall in a statement published on the university’s website. ‘Proteins interact to shape everything from life-threatening diseases to cellular structure in our bodies.’

The HPP is a major international effort to identify all human proteins that was first launched in 2010 by the Human Proteome Organization. Now, on the project’s 10th anniversary, the organisation has published its ‘first draft’ of the human proteome. The draft provides rigorous data on 17,874 of the 19,773 proteins predicted to be coded by the human genome. The authors say the information is ‘essential for discerning molecular processes in health and disease’ and will aid future biomedical discoveries and precision medicine.