07 December 2016

The Cellular Atlas project has been launched

Julia Korowski, XX2 century

In 2003, the Human Genome Project was declared completed. During this large-scale initiative, researchers determined the sequence of nucleotides in human DNA and identified 25,000 active genes. Recently, at a meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology, scientists announced the launch of the Cell Atlas, an open database of high–resolution images taken with microscopes. Cell Atlas visualizes the location of several thousand proteins of the human body. The creators hope that it will help the development of proteomics – a young science about the functions and interaction of proteins in living organisms.

UNC84B protein in the cell nucleus envelope.

"After the completion of the Human Genome project, during which the number of genes encoding proteins was determined, the next step is to investigate the functions of these proteins," says Mathias Uhlen, director of the Human Protein Atlas program. "To show the location of proteins in time and space in subcellular resolution means to take an important step towards new discoveries that shed light on their work." The Cell Atlas project was launched as part of the Human Protein Atlas initiative, launched in 2003 with the participation of the Royal Swedish Institute of Technology (Sweden. Kungliga Tekniska högskolan) and funded by the non-profit organization "Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation" (Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, KAW). The purpose of the program is to describe the proteins encoded by all the genes of the human body. The cell atlas contains images of cells subjected to immunofluorescence staining, these images show more than 12,000 proteins in 30 different cell structures. With the help of Cell Atlas, scientists will be able to obtain spatial information about the gene expression profile.

We have already written that researchers successfully attract non-professionals to solve complex problems. The creators of the Cellular Atlas also decided to use the help of gamers, and they got the developers of the most popular MMO – Eve Online as allies. Eve users can play a mini-game Project Discovery, in which you need to analyze "fresh pictures straight from the laboratory" (in the words of the creators) and determine which organelle of the cell contains a protein highlighted in a certain color – in the nucleus, cytoplasmic membrane, and so on. For completed tasks, players receive bonuses: the more accurate the result, the greater the reward. "This will help us classify organelles and clarify details within the Cell Atlas project," explains Emma Lundberg, director of the Cell Atlas. Moreover, the help to scientists is plot–based - the humanitarian organization "Sisters of Eve" (Sisters of EVE) is allegedly engaged in the project, which helps lost travelers, orphans, victims of war and crimes. With the help of the obtained data, she hopes to gain access to the technologies of another faction – the mysterious Drifters.

Protein clathrin (clathrin).

"We expect Cell Atlas to play a key role in the development of a new field of research – spatial proteomics. In order to better understand the work of human cells from a global perspective, in particular in the context of health and disease, it is necessary to obtain detailed information about the molecular systems that underlie it," concludes Lundberg. The cellular atlas is available on the Human Protein Atlas website.

Proteomics is a science whose main subject of study is proteins, their functions and interactions in living organisms, including human ones. The main task of proteomics is the quantitative analysis of protein expression in cells depending on their type, condition or the influence of external conditions. Proteomics performs a comparative analysis of large groups of proteins – from all proteins involved in a particular biological process to the complete proteome (a set of proteins of the body).

Traditionally, the study of proteins has been one of the branches of biochemistry, but after determining the structure of the entire genomic DNA of humans and a number of other organisms, protein researchers have developed new methods, which are associated with the appearance in 1997 of the new term "proteomics" (from "protein" and "genomics"). In particular, comprehensive databases containing sequences of all human proteins have appeared.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  07.12.2016

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