Proteome of The Human Heart Mapped For The First Time


Source: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry; Technical University of Munich

Summary: Researchers for the first time mapped proteome of the human heart called as cardiac proteome.


During a lifetime, a healthy heart beats nearly two billion times, thanks to the teamwork of more than 10,000 proteins. Proteins being the molecular machines of the cell, perform a range of functions. They are produced depending on the blueprints stored in the cell’s DNA. Changes at DNA or protein level can lead to disorders. To find such changes it is important to pinpoint the proteins present in a healthy heart and in what quantities. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) and the German Heart Centre at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) for the first time have compiled the entire atlas of a healthy human heart called as cardiac proteome (proteome – an entire set of proteins encoded by a specific genome). This protein atlas of the human heart was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Complete set of proteins of heart mapped

Foreground: heart schemata, background: section of a so-called heatmap, an overview of analyzed proteins that were summarized for the first time in an extensive atlas. Credit: Doll / Krause / Menzfeld; MPI of Biochemistry

Researchers collected over 150 tissue samples from 60 cardiac operations and forensic samples. They used mass spectroscopy and identified nearly 11,000 cardiac proteins and investigated three different cell types (cardiac fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells) of the heart to find the protein composition. In the further step, the research team wanted to test the healthy heart’s data as a control for detecting changes in the diseased hearts. This measuring technique has the ability to determine the entire heart region in just less than two days. The cardiac atlas will help in identifying the differences between the healthy and diseased hearts in future.

Dr. Markus Krane said, “These findings show us how important personalized medicine is. Although all the patients had very similar symptoms, we see from the data that a different molecular dysfunction was responsible in each case. We need to learn to recognize and treat such individual differences – especially in cardiac medicine.”


More Information: Sophia Doll et al, “Region and cell-type resolved quantitative proteomic map of the human heart”, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01747-2


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