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Proteins. 2002 Nov 15;49(3):350-64.

MULTIPROSPECTOR: an algorithm for the prediction of protein-protein interactions by multimeric threading.

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  • 1Laboratory of Computational Genomics, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63132, USA.


In this postgenomic era, the ability to identify protein-protein interactions on a genomic scale is very important to assist in the assignment of physiological function. Because of the increasing number of solved structures involving protein complexes, the time is ripe to extend threading to the prediction of quaternary structure. In this spirit, a multimeric threading approach has been developed. The approach is comprised of two phases. In the first phase, traditional threading on a single chain is applied to generate a set of potential structures for the query sequences. In particular, we use our recently developed threading algorithm, PROSPECTOR. Then, for those proteins whose template structures are part of a known complex, we rethread on both partners in the complex and now include a protein-protein interfacial energy. To perform this analysis, a database of multimeric protein structures has been constructed, the necessary interfacial pairwise potentials have been derived, and a set of empirical indicators to identify true multimers based on the threading Z-score and the magnitude of the interfacial energy have been established. The algorithm has been tested on a benchmark set comprised of 40 homodimers, 15 heterodimers, and 69 monomers that were scanned against a protein library of 2478 structures that comprise a representative set of structures in the Protein Data Bank. Of these, the method correctly recognized and assigned 36 homodimers, 15 heterodimers, and 65 monomers. This protocol was applied to identify partners and assign quaternary structures of proteins found in the yeast database of interacting proteins. Our multimeric threading algorithm correctly predicts 144 interacting proteins, compared to the 56 (26) cases assigned by PSI-BLAST using a (less) permissive E-value of 1 (0.01). Next, all possible pairs of yeast proteins have been examined. Predictions (n = 2865) of protein-protein interactions are made; 1138 of these 2865 interactions have counterparts in the Database of Interacting Proteins. In contrast, PSI-BLAST made 1781 predictions, and 1215 have counterparts in DIP. An estimation of the false-negative rate for yeast-predicted interactions has also been provided. Thus, a promising approach to help assist in the assignment of protein-protein interactions on a genomic scale has been developed.

Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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