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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8488-93. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1314810111. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

Visual account of protein investment in cellular functions.

Author information

  • 1Institut für Biochemie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany;Department of Plant Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel;
  • 2Department of Plant Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel;
  • 3Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; and.
  • 4Institute for Microbiology, Greifswald University, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
  • 5Department of Plant Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel;


Proteomics techniques generate an avalanche of data and promise to satisfy biologists' long-held desire to measure absolute protein abundances on a genome-wide scale. However, can this knowledge be translated into a clearer picture of how cells invest their protein resources? This article aims to give a broad perspective on the composition of proteomes as gleaned from recent quantitative proteomics studies. We describe proteomaps, an approach for visualizing the composition of proteomes with a focus on protein abundances and functions. In proteomaps, each protein is shown as a polygon-shaped tile, with an area representing protein abundance. Functionally related proteins appear in adjacent regions. General trends in proteomes, such as the dominance of metabolism and protein production, become easily visible. We make interactive visualizations of published proteome datasets accessible at We suggest that evaluating the way protein resources are allocated by various organisms and cell types in different conditions will sharpen our understanding of how and why cells regulate the composition of their proteomes.


Voronoi treemap; cell resource allocation; cellular economy; functional classification; mass spectrometry

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