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J Proteomics. 2014 Jan 31;97:3-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2013.05.018. Epub 2013 May 24.

Metaproteomics of our microbiome - developing insight in function and activity in man and model systems.

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Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address:
Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland; Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 21, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland; Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands.


We are all colonized by a large microbiome, a complex set of microbes that have intimate associations with us. Culture-based approaches have provided insights in the complexity of the microbial communities living on surfaces inside and outside the body. However, the application of high-throughput sequencing technologies has identified large numbers of community members at both the phylogenetic and the (meta-)genome level. The latter allowed defining a reference set of several millions of mainly bacterial genes and provided the basis for developing approaches to target the activity and function of the human microbiome with proteomic techniques. Moreover, recent improvements in protein and peptide separation efficiencies and highly accurate mass spectrometers have promoted the field of metaproteomics, the study of the collective proteome of microbial communities. We here review the approaches that have been developed to study the human metaproteomes, focusing on intestinal tract and body fluids. Moreover, we complement these by considering metaproteomic studies in mouse and other model systems offering the option to study single species or simple consortia. Finally, we discuss present and future avenues that may be used to advance the application of metaproteomic approaches to further improve our understanding of the microbes inside and around our body. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Trends in Microbial Proteomics.


Human microbiome; Metaproteomics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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