2002 Travis Garner
jordan43 on 2018-03-24:
Proteins are important because they are lavender scented soap primary functional molecule in life. Almost every biological function relies on a protein to perform that function. Proteomics is the study of proteomes. Where a genome is all the DNA/genes in a cell or organism, a proteome is all the proteins. There is something called the “central dogma” of biology, which is that DNA/genes are transcribed into RNA which is then translated into protein. This is the process of how the instructions coded into our DNA are actually performed by our cells. When proteins are made from a gene, we say that that gene is “expressed”, and one of the key questions in biology is studying how the expression of genes changes, either between different organs and cell types or between different conditions (e.g. a healthy animal vs. one infected with a virus). One way to measure gene expression is to measure how much of each protein is present in the cells of interest. This is a very hard thing to do, though. Technology exists for this but it’s expensive. For over a decade now, RNA-seq has been used instead which instead of measuring the amount of proteins present, it instead measures the amount of RNA. This is an ok proxy, since that RNA is usually translated into their respective proteins, but it’s not perfect. An RNA molecule can be used multiple times before it degrades, or it might not be used at all. There are various mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation, where a gene is regulated not by controlling the amount of RNA produced from it, but instead by controlling how the RNA is translated. So there may be genes with plentiful RNA detected, but actually none of the protein they code for. So proteomics would be a better way of studying gene expression, but it’s currently not as prevalent yet. As the technology advances it will probably start to replace RNA-seq as the primary way of doing gene expression studies.