Previously, large-scale proteomics was possible only for organisms whose genomes were sequenced, meaning the most common model organisms. The use of next-generation sequencers is now changing the deal. With "proteogenomics", the use of experimental proteomics data to refine genome annotations, a higher integration of omics data is gaining ground. By extension, combining genomic and proteomic data is becoming routine in many research projects. "Proteogenomic"-flavored approaches are currently expanding, enabling the molecular studies of non-model organisms at an unprecedented depth. Today draft genomes can be obtained using next-generation sequencers in a rather straightforward way and at a reasonable cost for any organism. Unfinished genome sequences can be used to interpret tandem mass spectrometry proteomics data without the need for time-consuming genome annotation, and the use of RNA-seq to establish nucleotide sequences that are directly translated into protein sequences appears promising. There are, however, certain drawbacks that deserve further attention for RNA-seq to become more efficient. Here, we discuss the opportunities of working with non-model organisms, the proteomic methods that have been used until now, and the dramatic improvements proffered by proteogenomics. These put the distinction between model and non-model organisms in great danger, at least in terms of proteomics!
Biological significance: Model organisms have been crucial for in-depth analysis of cellular and molecular processes of life. Focusing the efforts of thousands of researchers on the Escherichia coli bacterium, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, Arabidopsis thaliana plant, Danio rerio fish and other models for which genetic manipulation was possible was certainly worthwhile in terms of fundamental and invaluable biological insights. Until recently, proteomics of non-model organisms was limited to tedious, homology-based techniques, but today draft genomes or RNA-seq data can be straightforwardly obtained using next-generation sequencers, allowing the establishment of a draft protein database for any organism. Thus, proteogenomics opens new perspectives for molecular studies of non-model organisms, although they are still difficult experimental organisms. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics of non-model organisms.
Keywords: Draft genome; High-throughput proteomics; Next-generation sequencing; Non-model organisms; Proteogenomics; RNA-seq.
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