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Mol Syst Biol. 2007;3:104. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

Pathway redundancy and protein essentiality revealed in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae interaction networks.

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  • 1School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


The biological interpretation of genetic interactions is a major challenge. Recently, Kelley and Ideker proposed a method to analyze together genetic and physical networks, which explains many of the known genetic interactions as linking different pathways in the physical network. Here, we extend this method and devise novel analytic tools for interpreting genetic interactions in a physical context. Applying these tools on a large-scale Saccharomyces cerevisiae data set, our analysis reveals 140 between-pathway models that explain 3765 genetic interactions, roughly doubling those that were previously explained. Model genes tend to have short mRNA half-lives and many phosphorylation sites, suggesting that their stringent regulation is linked to pathway redundancy. We also identify 'pivot' proteins that have many physical interactions with both pathways in our models, and show that pivots tend to be essential and highly conserved. Our analysis of models and pivots sheds light on the organization of the cellular machinery as well as on the roles of individual proteins.

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