Many of our proteins remain hidden in the dark proteome

Every second of every day inside your body, proteins are made, moved, modified, and destroyed over and over again. These proteins can be short strings of amino acids or longer, intricately folded shapes. They can send messages or combine with other proteins to build machines or structures in the cell. Proteins are the performers that swirl and dance across every part of our bodies, and layers of complexity play out at the molecular level.

That dance matters. When outside dancers join or a key member of the ensemble becomes injured, the choreography changes. Those effects might be subtle but could have significant consequences for our health. It’s how tiny viruses can send people to the emergency room or small changes in our DNA can grow into cancers. When it comes to the lives of proteins in our cells, there is a constant whirl of activity. But scientists may be seeing only a fraction of it. Researchers have trained their spotlight on many proteins in our cells, but other proteins perform their movements in the dark, out of scientists’ view.

These unknowns, both known and unknown, are the dark proteome. Inside this dark proteome are proteins that scientists think should exist but haven’t found, proteins that can be constructed and modified in different ways, and proteins that scientists have found but whose structures and roles are still unknown. Researchers hoping to learn more about our biology, including details about diseases and how to treat them, are developing new tools and ways to explore this dark proteome.




Nautilus Biotechnology



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