Decoding signalling networks by mass spectrometry-based proteomics

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Jun;11(6):427-39. doi: 10.1038/nrm2900. Epub 2010 May 12.


Signalling networks regulate essentially all of the biology of cells and organisms in normal and disease states. Signalling is often studied using antibody-based techniques such as western blots. Large-scale 'precision proteomics' based on mass spectrometry now enables the system-wide characterization of signalling events at the levels of post-translational modifications, protein-protein interactions and changes in protein expression. This technology delivers accurate and unbiased information about the quantitative changes of thousands of proteins and their modifications in response to any perturbation. Current studies focus on phosphorylation, but acetylation, methylation, glycosylation and ubiquitylation are also becoming amenable to investigation. Large-scale proteomics-based signalling research will fundamentally change our understanding of signalling networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Proteome