Proteomics

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Proteomics is the systematic study of a proteome, i.e. the entire complements of proteins of either part of or an entire organism. Proteins play a central role in our bodies. A deeper insight into the functional relevance of these proteins under healthy or diseased conditions is the main challenge in clinical research. Alterations in concentration or modification of proteins can indicate diseases. Such kind of disease indicating proteins are called biomarkers. Proteomics has revolutionised the discovery of novel biomarkers by the innovative simultaneous analysis of thousands of proteins.

The word "proteome" is a combination of "protein" and "genome" (genome = the entire set of genes of an organism). Whereas the proteome is highly variable and adaptive, the genome is quite invariant and constant. Therefore proteomic changes are highly suitable to depict the state of an organism.

The difference between a butterfly and its larva, the caterpillar, is an ideal illustration: They both have exactly the same genome but they look totally different - due to altered proteomes encoded by the same genes.

Due to non-invasive sampling urine is an ideal body fluid for proteomic biomarker discovery. Urine is easily accessible in large quantities. Its high stability in comparison to other body fluids, such as blood which begins to clot and so degrade instantly after sampling, means that it is a highly reliable diagnostic tool.