Surface markers of human embryonic stem cells: a meta analysis of membrane proteomics reports

Introduction: Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have unique biological features and attributes that make them attractive in various areas of biomedical research. With heightened applications, there is an ever increasing need for advancement of proteome analysis. Membrane proteins are one of the most important subset of hESC proteins as they can be used as surface markers.

Areas covered: This review discusses commonly used surface markers of hESCs, and provides in-depth analysis of available hESC membrane proteome reports and the existence of these markers in many other cell types, especially cancer cells. Appreciating, existing ambiguity in the definition of a membrane protein, we have attempted a meta analysis of the published membrane protein reports of hESCs by using a combination of protein databases and prediction tools to find the most confident plasma membrane proteins in hESCs. Furthermore, responsiveness of plasma membrane proteins to differentiation has been discussed based on available transcriptome profiling data bank.

Expert commentary: Combined transcriptome and membrane proteome analysis highlighted additional proteins that may eventually find utility as new cell surface markers.