6. Concluding remarks

The establishment of a reference mitochondrial proteome map of human lymphoblastoid cells provides a basic and useful tool for researchers working in the field of mitochondrial diseases. This 2D-reference map displays a different subset of proteins as compared to total cell homogenates and gives an overview of the proteins present in the mitochondria.

This reference map makes it possible to look for abnormal expression of mitochondrial proteins in patients with mitochondrial diseases.

However, there are still many unsolvend problems remaining. The major problem is the limited identification rate of membrane proteins. The separation of these proteins is especially important for researchers in the mitochondrial field, since one can assume that the double membrane structure of the mitochondrion carries many transmembrane proteins. Therefore improvements of the 2D-electrophoresis should be especially focussed on the resolution of membrane proteins. The identification of mtDNA-encoded proteins is another difficult task that I chose for my further research.

Another major task for further study is to elucidate the variability (e.g. the polymorphisms) of mitochondrial protein expression patterns in healthy controls. This implies a lot of routine work, however it is doubtless very important. Whether a deviating protein pattern has a meaning for pathophysiology can only be verified based on thorough studies of the variation in the normal population.

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