Book Review

Hubert Rehm



Eric Bertrand & Michel Faupel (eds.):
Subcellular Proteomics. From Cell Deconstruction to System Reconstruction (Series: Subcellular Biochemstry, Vol. 43).

Hardcover: 389 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (September 14, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402059426
ISBN-13: 978-1402059421
Price: 187.20 EUR

Who is Reading this Book?


Michel Faupel, research scientist at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basle, is one of the editors of Subcellular Proteomics. He has contributed an interesting chapter on biophotonics applied to proteomics.

... wonders Lab Times reviewer Hubert Rehm, who reviewed it mainly for the sake of university librarians. His conclusion is rigorous to the publishers and frustrating for the authors.

This book, with its poetic subtitle, From Cell Deconstruction to system Reconstruction, was edited by Eric Bertrand and Michel Faupel. Both are members of the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical research in Basle, Switzerland.

The book is not a textbook but a compilation of 17 articles from 63 contributors. The articles are divided into five sections: membrane proteomics, organelle subproteomics, characterisation of supramolecular protein complexes, subcellular systems biology and emerging technologies in proteomics. There are methodological developments described of which I was not aware, such as the use of microparticles as a tool for plasma membrane research and the new possibility of imaging proteins in tissue slices with a mass spectrometer. The method used membrane-immobilised trypsin for digestion of the proteins of a tissue slice. The digestion products were fixed with a capture membrane. One might expect that diffusion would compromise the results but surprisingly there was still good resolution.

The rest of the book is all solid stuff and old news.

A general problem is that the content of this type of book is outdated long before its publication. Therefore, experts in the field don’t usually read them. Nobody else reads them either. Researchers interested in subcellular proteomics stick to journal articles or reviews which provide free and fresher information. Students stick to textbooks or reviews. So for whom is this book written? What is it good for?

To be honest, there can only be one answer. This book is written (as are many others) for libraries, which, for traditional reasons, feel obliged to spend the required &Euro; 187.20 for a standard work. Their fate is to gather dust on shelves and appear on lists and their purpose is to give their publishers a safe profit.

Not a bad book, but ...

Granted, this does not mean that Subcellular Proteomics is a bad book. There are some well-written parts, like the Keynotes on membrane proteomics by Thierry Rabilloud or Biophotonics applied to proteomics by Michel Faupel et al., which are both an easy read. Rabilloud’s style is brilliant even, but again, there is little or no new information. Also, proofreading is patchy and the text is littered with spelling and other mistakes. For instance, there are references to colour pictures but the whole book is in black and white!

Why did I review this book? In the hope that one or two librarians reads Lab Times and refrain in future from buying books of this type. It will save them time and money and publishers will then perhaps lose interest in bothering potential authors to write contributions. Thus no more time and effort will be wasted on products which next to nobody reads.


Some relations of cellular proteins, mapped by scientists at the Lane Center for Computational Biology at Carnegie Mellon University, who develop computational tools to create predictive models of complex biological processes and systems.





Letzte Änderungen: 12.07.2013




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