Economic principles in cell metabolism

Protein investment in cellular functions

Proteomics techniques generate an avalanche of data and promise to satisfy biologists’ long-held desire to measure absolute protein abundances on a genome-wide scale. However, can this knowledge be translated into a clearer picture of how cells invest their protein resources? This article aims to give a broad perspective on the composition of proteomes as gleaned from recent quantitative proteomics studies. We describe proteomaps, an approach for visualizing the composition of proteomes with a focus on protein abundances and functions. In proteomaps, each protein is shown as a polygon-shaped tile, with an area representing protein abundance. Functionally related proteins appear in adjacent regions. General trends in proteomes, such as the dominance of metabolism and protein production, become easily visible. We make interactive visualizations of published proteome datasets accessible at We suggest that evaluating the way protein resources are allocated by various organisms and cell types in different conditions will sharpen our understanding of how and why cells regulate the composition of their proteomes.

Read more:

  1. Visual account of protein investment in cellular functions, Liebermeister et al. (2014)
  2. Lab Mouse Proteomaps, Poster by Jörg Bernhardt, VizBi2014

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