Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 4, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Toponomics: studying proteinprotein interactions and protein networks in intact tissue

Author affiliations


The function of a protein is determined on several levels including the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and the recently introduced toponome. The toponome describes the topology of all proteins, protein complexes and protein networks which constitute and influence the microenvironment of a given protein. It has long been known that cellular function or dysfunction of proteins strongly depends on their microenvironment and even small changes in protein arrangements can dramatically alter their activity/function. Thus, deciphering the topology of the multi-dimensional networks which control normal and disease-related pathways will give a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying disease development. While various powerful proteomic tools allow simultaneous quantification of proteins, only a limited number of techniques are available to visualize protein networks in intact cells and tissues. This review discusses a novel approach to map and decipher functional molecular networks of proteins in intact cells or tissues. Multi-epitope-ligand-cartography (MELC) is an imaging technology that identifies and quantifies protein networks at the subcellular level of morphologically-intact specimens. This immunohistochemistry-based method allows serial visualization and biomathematical analysis of up to 100 cellular components using fluorescence-labelled tags. The resulting toponome maps, simultaneously ranging from the subcellular to the supracellular scale, have the potential to provide the basis for a mathematical description of the dynamic topology of protein networks, and will complement current proteomic data to enhance the understanding of physiological and pathophysiological cell functions.

Graphical abstract: Toponomics: studying protein–protein interactions and protein networks in intact tissue

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 03 Jun 2009, accepted on 30 Nov 2009 and first published on 12 Jan 2010

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B910653G
Mol. BioSyst., 2010,6, 641-647

  •   Request permissions

    Toponomics: studying proteinprotein interactions and protein networks in intact tissue

    S. Pierre and K. Scholich, Mol. BioSyst., 2010, 6, 641
    DOI: 10.1039/B910653G

Search articles by author