A major impact of genome projects on human health will be their contribution to the understanding of protein function. Proteins are the engines of biological systems, nearly all pharmaceuticals act on proteins and increasingly proteins themselves are used therapeutically. As biology enters the post-genomic era, researchers have begun to embrace the exciting opportunity of investigating proteins in high throughput (HT) experiments. The study of proteins includes a vast array of techniques ranging from enzyme catalysis assays to interaction and structural studies. Many of these methods depend on purified proteins. The discovery of thousands of novel protein-coding sequences and the increased availability of large cDNA collections provide the opportunity to investigate protein function in a systematic manner and at an unprecedented scale. This opportunity highlights the need for development of HT methods for protein isolation. This article describes the challenges faced and the approaches taken to develop proteome-scale protein expression systems.
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