Red blood cell proteomics
Transfus Clin Biol. 2010 Sep;17(3):151-64. Epub 2010 Jul 23.
Pasini EM, Mann M, Thomas AW.
Since its discovery in the 17th century, the red blood cell, recognized in time as the critical cell component for survival, has been the focus of much attention. Its unique role in gas exchange (oxygen/CO(2) transport) and its distinct characteristics (absence of nucleus; biconcave cell shape) together with an - in essence - unlimited supply lead to extensive targeted biochemical, molecular and structural studies. A quick PubMed query with the word "erythrocyte" results in 198 013 scientific articles of which 162 are red blood cell proteomics studies, indicating that this new technique has been only recently applied to the red blood cell and related fields. Standard and comparative proteomics have been widely used to study different blood components. A growing body of proteomics literature has since developed, which deals with the characterization of red blood cells in health and disease. The possibility offered by proteomics to obtain a global snapshot of the whole red blood cell protein make-up, has provided unique insights to many fields including transfusion medicine, anaemia studies, intra-red blood cell parasite biology and translational research. While the contribution of proteomics is beyond doubt, a full red blood cell understanding will ultimately require, in addition to proteomics, lipidomics, glycomics, interactomics and study of post-translational modifications. In this review we will briefly discuss the methodology and limitations of proteomics, the contribution it made to the understanding of the erythrocyte and the advances in red blood cell-related fields brought about by comparative proteomics.