Quantitative proteome analysis on mice as a disease model

Together with the UVic Genome BC Proteomics Centre at the University of Victoria, Canada, ISAS has established a project that focuses on deciphering the mouse proteome. Mice are the most frequently used laboratory animals in healthcare research. However, although they are genetically very similar to us, the results of animal experiments on mice can only be transferred to humans with difficulty. A key to this problem might be the proteome, which can only be investigated to a limited degree until now, due to the sheer number of proteins in a cell and the dynamics of the entire system.

The "gold standard" for protein detection in clinical research and diagnostics is the immunoassay. However, this method provides only limited information on single proteins in a sample, and many – if not most – of the potentially important proteins are not measured at all. On the other hand, other methods cannot provide quantitative data, which is however essential when trying to understand dynamic systems. This project therefore aims to replace immunoassays in clinics and laboratories with mass spectrometry techniques. Easy to implement, quantitative "proteomic kits" for at least 20 different mice tissues are to be developed that enable in-depth molecular phenotyping of mice. Such comprehensive proteome analyses provide a much deeper insight into cellular systems and disease progression than genome data and thus can improve the transfer of scientific findings from mice to humans.

The results from this work will be provided to the scientific community, for instance in the form of a publicly accessible mouse proteome atlas. Furthermore, they will significantly advance work at ISAS, especially in the programs Disease Mechanisms and Targets as well as Biomarkers. On the one hand, the kits can be used to better characterise the mouse models used in some projects, and on the other hand, the results will enable a better understanding of diseases and the identification of a large number of potential target molecules.