Proteomes are complex and dynamic entities that are still poorly understood, but the application of proteomic technologies has become invaluable in many areas of biology, including parasitology. These technologies can be exploited to identify proteins in both complex or relatively simple samples, that formerly could only be characterized by targeted approaches such as Western blotting. Quantitative proteomic approaches can reveal modulations in protein expression that accompany phenotypes of interest. Proteomic approaches have been exploited to understand some of the molecular basis for host:parasite interactions and to elucidate phenotypes such as virulence, antigenicity and drug resistance. Many of the same technologies can also be more easily applied to targeted sub-proteomes.
Examples from several studies on pathogen proteomes and sub-proteomes, from bacteria to helminths, are presented to illustrate the potential and limitations of proteomic technologies.