Multiplex aptamer/antibody arrays are a gateway drug to get genetics people to embrace proteomics

Multiplex Apater and Immuno Affinity Arrays are perfect for getting people excited about the power of proteins!

Multiplex aptamer/antibody arrays are a gateway drug to get genetics people to embrace proteomics
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When we completed the human genome in 2003, it was heralded as the dawning of a new age in disease prevention.

The truth is that finishing the genome was the first answer in a much longer FAQ about all of the things we didn’t understand in biology.

And since we’ve mostly sorted out the basic code of our genomes, we now need to answer the questions about what all of those genes are doing!

We can do this by looking at other -omes, like the proteome.

But one of the trickiest parts here is that the translation of our genetic code into protein is a massive amplification of that original genetic signal!

There are two copies of each of your genes.

When those are converted into an RNA message, it’s usually not just one RNA that’s made, it can be hundreds.

And then those hundreds of messages can make many thousands of proteins.

So, in genetics we’re usually differentiating the 2 alleles of a gene, but in proteomics we can sometimes be looking for a handful of proteins in a sea of 10,000,000,000!

What this means is that we have to be able to look at way more molecules in proteomics to get the answers we’re looking for than we’ve ever had to look at in genomics.

And it also means the dynamic range is important, or, can the method we’re using detect very abundant and very rare things.

In proteomics we need 10 orders of magnitude, or 1:10,000,000,000 to be the most comprehensive.

We can get pretty close to that using techniques like mass spectrometry, but mass spec instruments are expensive and complicated and most genetics people are infatuated with their sequencers.

So, how can we scam them into doing proteomics while still making them feel like they’re getting good use out of their sequencers?

We can make them use those instruments as counting devices!

Which is a perfect match for two techniques that allow us to detect 10,000+ proteins at a time with the appropriate amount of dynamic range.

Enter Multiplex Aptamer and Immuno Affinity Arrays:

SomaLogic - They do the detecting with aptamers, which are just single stranded pieces of DNA that have been selected for their ability to bind to specific proteins. Detection of said proteins is done by sequencing and counting the aptamers that ended up getting stuck to the proteins in a sample.

Olink - Are more traditional and use antibodies. But these aren't any old antibodies! They've been tagged with DNA! And it's those DNA tags that are then detected and counted on a sequencer.

Both techniques are great at detecting and counting proteins.

But, the major drawback here is that they aren’t able to easily detect protein modifications which are key indicators of the functional state of an expressed protein.

Because of this, they’re probably just a bridge, but for now, they’re perfect for getting people excited about the power of proteins!

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