Proteomics? There are Apps for that!
Hello. Aaron from AB SCIEX here, and we are adding Proteomics to BaseSpace. I bet you weren’t expecting that! But about a year ago we started working with the very nice people at Illumina and together we began to map out a grand vision of how we could better enable systems biology/translational medicine/functional genomics (did I miss one?). Both teams recognized that to really help our customers make revolutionary discoveries in biological research we needed to expand beyond our individual core competencies. For too long the omics technologies had been compartmentalized, and that really isn’t how it works in living cells.
In parallel, mass spectrometry-based proteomics was growing up. With the new AB SCIEX next-gen proteomics technology (a.k.a. SWATH Proteomics), we can quantify thousands of proteins in many, many samples reproducibly for the first time, so integration with genomics and transcriptomics would be more meaningful.
I am proud to announce the launch of OneOmics – an exclusive partnership to bring together AB SCIEX next-gen proteomics (NGP) and Illumina next-generation sequencing (NGS) tools in the BaseSpace cloud computing environment. There are four BaseSpace Apps in the AB SCIEX next-gen proteomics toolkit:
• Protein Expression Extractor – for processing raw mass spectrometry data
• Protein Expression Assembler – for protein fold-change analysis
• Protein Expression Browser – to visualize results in biological context
• Protein Expression Analytics – for data quality review
The Protein Expression Extractor and Assembler have some really fancy algorithms generating the results, and the high-powered distributed computing in BaseSpace delivers results up to 50x faster than on the usual high-end desktop computer (from 3 days down to a couple of hours!). Also the ‘don’t try this at home’ paradigm normally associated with mass spec proteomics is a thing of the past, and you don’t have to be a bioinformatics expert to process the data. It’s virtually parameter free. I told you the algorithms are fancy.
But the Protein Expression Browser is the really cool App. There’s not a mass spectrum in sight, and you don’t have to worry about any of the usual impenetrable jargon associated with mass spec proteomics. Just great visuals of showing your results in biological context.
Having proteomics and genomics data in the same place/cloud is a huge step forward in itself, but the AB SCIEX and Illumina teams wanted to take this a step further and integrate NGP and NGS. One of the main benefits of using BaseSpace is that there is already a community of bioinformatics developers publishing new apps, and we are really excited about the applications that our collaborators at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), Yale, NextBio and Advaita have been developing. Rob Moritz and his team at ISB have developed the SWATHAtlas Ion Library Generator App that can generate standard and modified SWATH Proteomics Libraries as part of their SWATHAtlas project. This means that researchers have easy access to human, yeast and MtB libraries currently, but more are on the way.
There are obviously many ways to combine genomics information with proteomics information. You could simply do your gene expression with Illumina’s TopHat, Cufflinks or RNA Express Apps, and then your protein expression with AB SCIEX’s next-gen proteomics toolkit, and then integrate the results (parallel analysis). But Chris Colangelo and Rob Kitchen at Yale University are developing the RNA-Seq Translator App that takes the output from Cufflinks and converts it to protein FASTA files. That App will be available soon. These files can then be converted into an NGP library and be used as the basis for proteomics analysis (serial analysis). The transcriptomics and proteomics results can be loaded into Advaita’s iPathwayGuide, or mapped onto the genome using NextBio, and differential transcript or gene expression can be compared with differential protein expression.
I hope you are as excited about the possibilities as we are here at AB SCIEX and Illumina. This is only the beginning…