MONTREAL—The Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) and Invitrogen announced last month a scientific collaboration whereby Invitrogen scientists will support efforts by HUPO to develop new proteomic standards, products and processes. The announcement marks the first of what may be a number of collaborations between HUPO and other for-profit companies as it pushes forward with a number of different standards creation initiatives.
For Invitrogen, being tapped by HUPO for this project is a feather in its cap in terms of validating its ever-strengthening position in the proteomics market, as well as a way to foster broader work in the proteomics field.
"We want to be partners with HUPO in advancing proteomic research to make sure that scientists can build upon the work of others scientists for the collective information and the value of studying the human proteome can be assembled more quickly and the results can be interpreted more accurately," says Chuck Piazza, VP of proteomics with Invitrogen.
It's not an easy problem to tackle, Piazza notes, since everyday proteomic research methods, such as 2D electrophoresis, are very hard to standardize. The idea is to attempt to drive some form of proteome-scale standards and to find ways to provide known standard sets to research laboratories that are looking to contribute data, so that data sets can be compared.
It's important to note, Piazza says, that Invitrogen is in no way looking to drive HUPO in a particular direction regarding standards, rather it is taking direction from HUPO on what it and its member scientists see as the most effective method for achieving the optimal solution.
Under the direction of HUPO, Invitrogen will leverage many of its internal resources including fluorescence imaging and protein labeling to provide technical assistance during the process.
For HUPO, the collaboration with Invitrogen comes roughly nine months after it embarked on a course of addressing test protein standards. According to John J. M. Bergeron, president of HUPO, work with Invitrogen began shortly thereafter to ensure that Invitrogen-supplied proteins would meet the criteria and were of very high purity.
"In short, we wanted these to represent the kinds of proteins that the proteomics community would be interested in characterizing as their first step," Bergeron says.
Currently, he notes, there are two protein standards that come from a mix of roughly 100 proteins which are being used to benchmark different proteomic platforms.
"This is not a competition," Bergeron says. "The objective here is for us to use our education and training committee to ensure that proteomics in the HUPO community is reaching the very top standards currently attainable. We will then work with the community and our industrial partners in order to make the analytical tools more accessible, more reproducible and as error-free as possible, so that we can get a complete, accurate representation of the observations."
Invitrogen will aid with the test protein standard by ramping up the number of proteins available to 200 within the first year and as many 1,000 to 1,500 within two years.