The quantitative proteome of a human cell line

Mol Syst Biol. 2011 Nov 8:7:549. doi: 10.1038/msb.2011.82.


The generation of mathematical models of biological processes, the simulation of these processes under different conditions, and the comparison and integration of multiple data sets are explicit goals of systems biology that require the knowledge of the absolute quantity of the system's components. To date, systematic estimates of cellular protein concentrations have been exceptionally scarce. Here, we provide a quantitative description of the proteome of a commonly used human cell line in two functional states, interphase and mitosis. We show that these human cultured cells express at least -10 000 proteins and that the quantified proteins span a concentration range of seven orders of magnitude up to 20 000 000 copies per cell. We discuss how protein abundance is linked to function and evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Proteome* / genetics
  • Proteome* / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Systems Biology / methods


  • Proteome