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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Apr 15;100(8):4372-6. Epub 2003 Apr 3.

Assessing experimentally derived interactions in a small world.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Experimentally determined networks are susceptible to errors, yet important inferences can still be drawn from them. Many real networks have also been shown to have the small-world network properties of cohesive neighborhoods and short average distances between vertices. Although much analysis has been done on small-world networks, small-world properties have not previously been used to improve our understanding of individual edges in experimentally derived graphs. Here we focus on a small-world network derived from high-throughput (and error-prone) protein-protein interaction experiments. We exploit the neighborhood cohesiveness property of small-world networks to assess confidence for individual protein-protein interactions. By ascertaining how well each protein-protein interaction (edge) fits the pattern of a small-world network, we stratify even those edges with identical experimental evidence. This result promises to improve the quality of inference from protein-protein interaction networks in particular and small-world networks in general.

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