Recent developments in the field of protein separation allows for the analysis of qualitative and quantitative global protein changes in a particular state of a biological system. Due to the enormous number of proteins potentially present in a cell, sub-fractionation and the enrichment of specific organelles are emerging as a necessary step to allow a more comprehensive representation of the protein content. The proteomic studies demonstrate that a key to understand the mechanisms underlying physiological or pathological phenotypes lies, at least in part, in post-translational modifications (PTMs), including phosphorylation of proteins. Rapid improvements in proteomic characterization of amino acid modifications are further expanding our comprehension of the importance of these mechanisms. The present review will provide an overview of technologies available for the study of a proteome, including tools to assess changes in protein quantity (abundance) as well as in quality (PTM forms). Examples of the recent application of these technologies and strategies in the field of kinase signalling will be provided with particular attention on the role of PKC in the heart. Studies of PKC-mediated phosphorylation of cytoskeletal, myofilament and mitochondrial proteins in the heart have provided great insight into the phenotypes of heart failure, hypertrophy and cardioprotection. Proteomics studies of the mitochondria have provided novel evidences for kinase signalling cascades localized to the mitochondria, some of which are known to involve various isoforms of PKC. Proteomics technologies allow for the identification of the different PTM forms of specific proteins and this information is likely to provide insight into the determinants of morphological as well as metabolic mal-adaptations, both in the heart and other tissues.
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