What is proteomics?SURFBIO
Author: Cristina Furlan, from Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Proteomics is the study of the global behaviour of proteins, nutrients that cells (like ours) produce or get from the environment in the form of meat and dairy products but also from eggs and many vegetables. Proteins are the main executors of what happens in a cell and between cells in all organisms: from us, humans, to the tiny microbes.
Can proteomics help the study of colloid and surface research?
The answer is YES of course! Proteomics takes advantage of very advanced instruments, called mass spectrometers, to take a snapshot of all the proteins present in a sample and be able to weight them, say what types there are and how they relate to each other.
Why do we want to study proteins in colloidal biology? Proteins are major components of many colloids, for a simple example just think of milk. They are also an important part of more complex structures interacting with surfaces, such us biofilms that have a colloidal component called matrix. Biofilms are formed by groups of microorganisms living together and embedded in a matrix of sugars, proteins, lipids and extracellular genetic material.
Proteins that are in the matrix facilitate the formation of biofilms that can attack and attach to leaving (i.e. teeth, skin, etc.) or not leaving (i.e. pipes, catheters, etc.) surfaces. This is a problem, for example, in hospitals because these biofilms are more difficult to fight with antibiotics than individual microorganisms and can be very harmful to human health. Knowing how the proteins works in biofilms can help us in finding new ways to disassemble them, for instance. Therefore, within the SurfBio project at WUR we are helping scientists that want to use this wide info on proteins in their research.