The image illustrates a proteomic analysis of integrin adhesion complexes, which regulate the adhesion of cells to other cells or to the surrounding extracellular matrix. Adhesion complexes isolated from cells were analysed by mass spectrometry. The blue heatmap represents a “barcode” of proteins detected in different adhesion complexes, and a core integrin-bound subcomplex has been reconstructed as an interaction network model rising from the data.
Cell adhesion controls many fundamental cellular processes, and its dysregulation plays a role in many diseases. Global proteomic analyses generate large quantities of data that are beginning to address the complexity of cellular regulation in health and disease. From a clinical perspective, high-quality, well controlled datasets could enable the development of new drug targets and personalised medicines.
The issue of Proteomics Clinical Applications featuring my cover image includes a Technical Brief that details simple steps for removing contaminating blood-derived proteins from kidney biopsy specimens prior to proteomic analysis, highlighting one of many potential sources of variability in the proteomic analysis of clinical tissue samples. Compared to cells in culture, tissue samples are more heterogeneous and complex, which makes comprehensive proteomic analysis all the more challenging. Good controls, appropriate replicates and robust statistical analyses, in combination with ever-improving sample preparation, data acquisition and validation approaches, are key to meaningful clinical applications of proteomics.