One step closer to understand the human brain

Published: 2020-03-06


An international team of scientists led by researchers from SciLifeLab and Karolinska Institutet has launched a comprehensive overview of all proteins expressed in the brain, providing neuroscience and medical research with a tool to explore proteins in different parts of the brain controlling basic and complex brain functions.

The open-access database offers medical researchers an unprecedented resource to deepen their understanding of neurobiology and develop new, more effective therapies and diagnostics targeting psychiatric and neurological diseases.

Published today in the journal Science, the Brain Atlas resource is the latest database to be released by the Human Protein Atlas program, a SciLifeLab Research Community Program (RCP). The project is a collaboration with the BGI research center in Shenzhen and Qingdao in China and Aarhus University in Denmark. The Brain Atlas resource is based on the analysis of nearly 1,900 brain samples covering 27 brain regions in three species.

The brain is the most complex organ of our body both in structure and function, and a dedicated brain atlas has therefore been created combining data from the human brain with corresponding information about the brain of pig and mouse.

“As expected the blue print for the brain is shared among mammals, but the new map also reveals interesting differences between the brains of human, pig and mouse” says Mathias Uhlén (SciLifeLab/KTH), Director the Human Protein Atlas effort.

The results are presented in the Human Protein Atlas providing an open-access knowledge resource to allow exploration of the gene expression profiles across human, pig and mouse brain regions. For selected genes, the Brain Atlas also contains microscopic images showing the protein distribution in human brain samples and detailed, zoomable maps of protein distribution in the mouse brain.

The main funding for the research was provided by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

For more information, visit the HPA website