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Methods Mol Biol. 2004;261:445-68.

Computational prediction of protein-protein interactions.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Eukaryotic proteins typically contain one or more modular domains such as kinases, phosphatases, and phoshopeptide-binding domains, as well as characteristic sequence motifs that direct post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, or mediate binding to specific modular domains. A computational approach to predict protein interactions on a proteome-wide basis would therefore consist of identifying modular domains and sequence motifs from protein primary sequence data, creating sequence specificity-based algorithms to connect a domain in one protein with a motif in another in "interaction space," and then graphically constructing possible interaction networks. Computational methods for predicting modular domains in proteins have been quite successful, but identifying the short sequence motifs these domains recognize has been more difficult. We are developing improved methods to identify these motifs by combining experimental and computational techniques with databases of sequences and binding information. Scansite is a web-accessible program that predicts interactions between proteins using experimental binding data from peptide library and phage display experiments. This program focuses on domains important in cell signaling, but it can, in principle, be used for other interactions if the domains and binding motifs are known. This chapter describes in detail how to use Scansite to predict the binding partners of an input protein, and how to find all proteins that contain a given sequence motif.

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