It’s official–there are some 42 million protein molecules in a simple cell, revealed a team of researchers led by Grant Brown, a biochemistry professor in the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. Analyzing data from almost two dozen large studies of protein abundance in yeast cells, the team was able to produce for the first time reliable estimates for the number of molecules for each protein, as revealed in a study published this week in the journal Cell Systems. The work was done in collaboration with Anastasia Baryshnikova, a U of T alum and now Principal Investigator at Calico, a California biotechnology company that focuses on aging. Proteins make up our cells and do most of the work in them. This way, they bring genetic code to life because the recipes for building proteins are stored within the genes’ DNA code.Explaining the work, Brown said that given that “the cell is the functional unit of biology, it’s just a natural curiosity to want to know what’s in there and how much of each kind.” Curiosity notwithstanding, there’s another reason why scientists would want to tally up proteins. Many diseases are caused by either having too little or too much of a certain protein. The more scientists know about how protein abundance is controlled, the better they’ll be able to fix it when it goes awry.