Under the direction of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO), the Human Proteome Project (HPP) has announced a new research group that will complement the chromosome-centered HPP.1 Known as the Biology/Disease-driven Human Proteome Project (B/D-HPP), this coalition of researchers will provide a framework for sharing information to bring new understanding of biological functions and disease states. As of the 2012 HUPO world conference, international B/D-HPP teams are emerging to study diabetes, cancer proteomics, mitochondrial chromosomes, infectious diseases, and epigenetics/chromatin-associated proteins. The organ-based initiative from HUPO is also interested in joining the B/D-HPP.
The driving forces involved in the development of the B/D-HPP are illustrated in an article published in Nature entitled, “Too Many Roads Not Taken.” According to the article, proteomics has been slow to progress in comparison with the Human Genome Project.After more than a decade of work, a handful of proteins have become favourites for research while the majority of proteins have yet to be explored. The reasoning behind this may be that researchers tend to try and improve upon previous studies rather than finding new directions of study; difficulty in locating adequate funding, and research tools and assays that are not readily available, are also to blame.2
To ensure future projects have the best chance of success, the B/D-HPP has designed a set of goals that they hope will be incorporated into other areas of focus within the HPP. First, researchers will choose an area consisting of one or more areas of focus, which would include biological area(s) of study or particular disease(s). Once the area has been defined, researchers should be able to generate a target list of proteins based on published literature in their areas of focus. From there, relevant assays and reagents can be produced or acquired. Once the work has been done, their work — along with any affinity-based assays and reagents used — will be publicly accessible and available to others involved in the B/D-HPP and elsewhere.1 Through these proposed goals, the B/D-HPP aims to make research tools more accessible while also improving the organization of developing projects and increasing the efficiency of proteomics work as a whole.
1. Aebersold, R., et al. (2013) “The biology/disease-driven human proteome project (B/D-HPP): Enabling protein research for the life sciences community,” Journal of Proteome Research,12(1) (pp. 23−27).
2. Edwards, A. M., et al. (2011) “Too many roads not taken,” Nature, 470(7333) (pp. 163−165).