CAMBRIDGE, UK, and STOCKHOLM, Sweden—Horizon Discovery Group plc announced today a partnership with The Human Protein Atlas (HPA). HPA has selected Horizon’s CRISPR-edited HAP1 knockout cell models to further expand the knowledge available in its Cell Atlas program and advance understanding of the genetic drivers of disease.
Knockout cell models offer the possibility for an enhanced validation of antibodies based on genetic strategies, because the complete absence of the targeting protein correlates with a complete loss of signal for specific antibodies. Adding more validation data for the HPA’s antibodies will increase the reliability of the Cell Atlas.
“Horizon has over a decade of experience in gene editing, and a well-established reputation for providing CRISPR-edited knockout cell models,” said Professor Emma Lundberg, who is responsible for the HPA Cell Atlas program. “We have previously used Horizon’s cell lines in our high throughput imaging processes with great success. Using a validated gene-edited cell line where all cell models have the same background will be key to maximizing efficiency and achieving data reproducibility.”
HPA was founded in 2003, with the aim of mapping all the human proteins in cells, tissues and organs. The growing information database of HPA is an open access source available to scientists in academia and industry who want to explore the human proteome. Horizon’s cell models will be integrated within the HPA Cell Atlas program, which details the subcellular localization of proteins in single human cells and provides high-resolution insights into molecular mechanisms. HPA researchers will initially utilize 500 of Horizon’s CRISPR-edited knockout cell models as part of large-scale protein expression and imaging studies.
“Having contributed to several thousands of publications in the field of human biology and disease, the HPA is a highly regarded knowledge provider and an expert in the field of molecular mechanisms of the human cell. We are delighted to partner with HPA to provide the robust research tools required to extend their database, and we are proud to be contributing to the expansion of this renowned open access resource for both academia and industry,” added Terry Pizzie, CEO, Horizon Discovery.
HPA will be able to put Horizon’s HAP1 cell line to good use in their research. And speaking of research, in late November HPA reported that Science Signaling had published a paper by Dr. Mathias Uhlen et al., entitled “The Human Secretome.” The article provides a comprehensive annotation of all proteins secreted by human cells.
The paper also describes an analysis of the concentrations of the proteins circulating in human blood. This provides a unique resource for studying human biology and diseases, in particular for immune-based research and efforts to develop new treatments in oncology and autoimmune diseases.
The collection of proteins actively transported out of human cells is referred to as the human secretome. The secretome constitutes a large fraction of the targets for pharmaceutical drugs. The proteins are also important as targets for both current clinical chemistry and future diagnostics. Many of these proteins are involved in signaling functions.
According to HPA’s website, “Based on a genome-wide analysis of the human protein-coding genes in which the secretome was identified as proteins with a signal peptide and no transmembrane-spanning region altogether 2641 genes were identified, corresponding to approximately 13% of the protein-coding genes. We have here performed a systematic analysis of all of these genes in order to identify through literature, bioinformatics and experimental data the final location of each of these predicted secreted proteins with the aim to annotate their final location in the human body, including blood, digestive tract or other locations.”
The paper presents an analysis of all proteins predicted to be secreted in humans, and suggests that the number of proteins secreted into blood is around just 700. This corresponds to less than 4% of all human protein-coding genes and is far less than previously estimated. The proteins identified include classical plasma proteins, inflammation proteins (cytokines and interleukins), growth factors, well-known hormones and receptors. Researchers also identified almost one hundred proteins with no currently known function.
The proteins circulating in human blood were analyzed to define those that have been detected by mass spectrometry-based proteomics and antibody-based immunoassay. The analysis revealed that assays are lacking for a large fraction of the secreted blood proteins. In the future, researchers plan to extend the respective assays and measure all the actively secreted proteins, providing a secretome-wide tool box of assays for the proteins in the blood.