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J Mol Biol. 2003 Mar 14;327(1):273-84.

Exploiting the co-evolution of interacting proteins to discover interaction specificity.

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  • 1Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

Abstract

Protein interactions are fundamental to the functioning of cells, and high throughput experimental and computational strategies are sought to map interactions. Predicting interaction specificity, such as matching members of a ligand family to specific members of a receptor family, is largely an unsolved problem. Here we show that by using evolutionary relationships within such families, it is possible to predict their physical interaction specificities. We introduce the computational method of matrix alignment for finding the optimal alignment between protein family similarity matrices. A second method, 3D embedding, allows visualization of interacting partners via spatial representation of the protein families. These methods essentially align phylogenetic trees of interacting protein families to define specific interaction partners. Prediction accuracy depends strongly on phylogenetic tree complexity, as measured with information theoretic methods. These results, along with simulations of protein evolution, suggest a model for the evolution of interacting protein families in which interaction partners are duplicated in coupled processes. Using these methods, it is possible to successfully find protein interaction specificities, as demonstrated for >18 protein families.

PMID:
12614624
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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