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J Mol Biol. 2009 Oct 9;392(5):1253-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.07.088. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Interaction between intrinsically disordered proteins frequently occurs in a human protein-protein interaction network.

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  • 1Computational Biology Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 135-0064, 2-42 Aomi Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan. shimizu-kana@aist.go.jp


Intrinsic protein disorder is a widespread phenomenon characterised by a lack of stable three-dimensional structures and is considered to play an important role in protein-protein interactions (PPIs). This study examined the genome-wide preference of disorder in PPIs by using exhaustive disorder prediction in human PPIs. We categorised the PPIs into three types (interaction between disordered proteins, interaction between structured proteins, and interaction between a disordered protein and a structured protein) with regard to the flexibility of molecular recognition and compared these three interaction types in an existing human PPI network with those in a randomised network. Although the structured regions were expected to become the identifiers for binding recognition, this comparative analysis revealed unexpected results. The occurrence of interactions between disordered proteins was significantly frequent, and that between a disordered protein and a structured protein was significantly infrequent. We found that this propensity was much stronger in interactions between nonhub proteins. We also analysed the interaction types from a functional standpoint by using GO, which revealed that the interaction between disordered proteins frequently occurred in cellular processes, regulation, and metabolic processes. The number of interactions, especially in metabolic processes between disordered proteins, was 1.8 times as large as that in the randomised network. Another analysis conducted by using KEGG pathways provided results where several signaling pathways and disease-related pathways included many interactions between disordered proteins. All of these analyses suggest that human PPIs preferably occur between disordered proteins and that the flexibility of the interacting protein pairs may play an important role in human PPI networks.

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