Mass-spectrometric exploration of proteome structure and function


Numerous biological processes are concurrently and coordinately active in every living cell. Each of them encompasses synthetic, catalytic and regulatory functions that are, almost always, carried out by proteins organized further into higher-order structures and networks. For decades, the structures and functions of selected proteins have been studied using biochemical and biophysical methods. However, the properties and behaviour of the proteome as an integrated system have largely remained elusive. Powerful mass-spectrometry-based technologies now provide unprecedented insights into the composition, structure, function and control of the proteome, shedding light on complex biological processes and phenotypes.

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Figure 1: Bottom-up proteomics workflows.
Figure 2: Analysis of post-translational modifications.
Figure 3: Interaction proteomics and structural proteomics.
Figure 4: Proteotype states and phenotypes.


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We thank M. Faini and R. Ciuffa for help in preparing the figures and Y. Liu for help in compiling the literature citations. M. Hein provided inspiration for this Review, read the manuscript critically and helped with preparing the figures, as did F. Hosp, P. Geyer and S. Beck. We thank members of our groups for critical discussions.

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Correspondence to Ruedi Aebersold or Matthias Mann.

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Aebersold, R., Mann, M. Mass-spectrometric exploration of proteome structure and function. Nature 537, 347–355 (2016).

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