The August issue of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics features a substantial collection of articles describing recent research findings from investigators supported by the European Union-funded proteomics consortium known as PRIME-XS.
For the uninitiated, the acronym PRIME-XS is short for “Proteomics Research Infrastructure Maximising knowledge EXchange and access.” The consortium’s 12 partner institutions offer the critical infrastructure — specialized instrumentation, expertise and training — for proteomics researchers in Europe who otherwise lack access to such resources.
The prologue to the MCP special issue was written by Albert Heck of Utrecht University, Jesper Olsen of the University of Copenhagen and Ruedi Aebersold of the ETH Zurich (all PRIME-XS principal investigators), along with Reinout Raijmakers of Utrecht University (who manages the PRIME-XS project office).
“Prior to the founding of PRIME-XS, proteomics in Europe was already well-established, with several top-notch research laboratories and several proteomics facilities operating at the local and national levels. However, the European proteomics community was not well-organized,” the prologue authors explain.
The EU’s primary funding mechanisms for research and development are known as “framework programmes.” After funding for PRIME-XS was secured under the seventh framework’s infrastructure umbrella, “a major effort was made to organize the community and to establish a coordinated program to provide the European life-science research community with access to top-of-the line (proteomics) facilities.”
Long story short: PRIME-XS put out its first call for proposals in July 2011 and since then has invited 104 investigators from 21 countries to carry out work at the consortium’s six access sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, the U.K. and France.
|PRIME-XS access site at Utrecht University. Photo by Bas van Breukelen
“Sometimes guest researchers stay (at an access site) for a single day; others are embedded at a site for weeks or months,” Heck et al. write. “Some users are proteomics novices; others are experienced researchers who want training and access to novel or specialized technologies that are unavailable locally.”
The ongoing and completed work at the PRIME-XS access sites has yielded more than 100 publications so far. The 19 new publications in the special issue of MCP describe “a wide variety of proteomics applications in biology and medicine,” Heck says, including antibiotic resistance, plant pathogens, brain malfunctioning, circadian rhythms and quality-control metrics.
Heck says submissions for the MCP special issue were sought openly from “people working in the PRIME-XS joint-research activity programs and researchers from all over Europe who requested access to the proteomics infrastructures.”