Enhanced Validation of Antibodies Enables the Discovery of Missing Proteins

J Proteome Res. 2020 Dec 4;19(12):4766-4781. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.0c00486. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


The localization of proteins at a tissue- or cell-type-specific level is tightly linked to the protein function. To better understand each protein's role in cellular systems, spatial information constitutes an important complement to quantitative data. The standard methods for determining the spatial distribution of proteins in single cells of complex tissue samples make use of antibodies. For a stringent analysis of the human proteome, we used orthogonal methods and independent antibodies to validate 5981 antibodies that show the expression of 3775 human proteins across all major human tissues. This enhanced validation uncovered 56 proteins corresponding to the group of "missing proteins" and 171 proteins of unknown function. The presented strategy will facilitate further discussions around criteria for evidence of protein existence based on immunohistochemistry and serves as a useful guide to identify candidate proteins for integrative studies with quantitative proteomics methods.

Keywords: antibody validation; antibody-based proteomics; human proteome; immunohistochemistry; missing proteins; protein evidence; transcriptomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proteome*
  • Proteomics*


  • Antibodies
  • Proteome