The emerging role of mass spectrometry-based proteomics in drug discovery
Proteins are the main targets of most drugs; however, system-wide methods to monitor protein activity and function are still underused in drug discovery. Novel biochemical approaches, in combination with recent developments in mass spectrometry-based proteomics instrumentation and data analysis pipelines, have now enabled the dissection of disease phenotypes and their modulation by bioactive molecules at unprecedented resolution and dimensionality. In this Review, we describe proteomics and chemoproteomics approaches for target identification and validation, as well as for identification of safety hazards. We discuss innovative strategies in early-stage drug discovery in which proteomics approaches generate unique insights, such as targeted protein degradation and the use of reactive fragments, and provide guidance for experimental strategies crucial for success.
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Unbiased spatial proteomics with single-cell resolution in tissues
Mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics has become a powerful technology to quantify the entire complement of proteins in cells or tissues. Here, we review challenges and recent advances in the LC-MS-based analysis of minute protein amounts, down to the level of single cells. Application of this technology revealed that single-cell transcriptomes are dominated by stochastic noise due to the very low number of transcripts per cell, whereas the single-cell proteome appears to be complete. The spatial organization of cells in tissues can be studied by emerging technologies, including multiplexed imaging and spatial transcriptomics, which can now be combined with ultra-sensitive proteomics. Combined with high-content imaging, artificial intelligence and single-cell laser microdissection, MS-based proteomics provides an unbiased molecular readout close to the functional level. Potential applications range from basic biological questions to precision medicine.