Progress and pitfalls in finding the 'missing proteins' from the human proteome map
Introduction: The Human Proteome Project was launched with two main goals: the comprehensive and systematic definition of the human proteome map and the development of ready to use analytical tools to measure relevant proteins in their biological context in health and disease. Despite the great progress in this endeavour, there is still a group of reluctant proteins with no, or scarce, experimental evidence supporting their existence. These are called the 'missing proteins' and represent one of the biggest challenges to complete the human proteome map. Areas covered: This review focuses on the description of the missing proteome based on the HUPO standards, the analysis of the reasons explaining the difficulty of detecting missing proteins and the strategies currently used in the search for missing proteins. The present and future of the quest for the missing proteins is critically revised hereafter. Expert commentary: An overarching multidisciplinary effort is currently being done under the HUPO umbrella to allow completion of the human proteome map. It is expected that the detection of missing proteins will grow in the coming years since the methods and the best tissue/cell type sample for their search are already on the table.