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BMC Bioinformatics. 2010 Dec 21;11:605. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-11-605.

New insights into protein-protein interaction data lead to increased estimates of the S. cerevisiae interactome size.

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  • 1Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG, BCM, CNRS UMR5525, Faculté de médecine, La Tronche, France.



As protein interactions mediate most cellular mechanisms, protein-protein interaction networks are essential in the study of cellular processes. Consequently, several large-scale interactome mapping projects have been undertaken, and protein-protein interactions are being distilled into databases through literature curation; yet protein-protein interaction data are still far from comprehensive, even in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Estimating the interactome size is important for evaluating the completeness of current datasets, in order to measure the remaining efforts that are required.


We examined the yeast interactome from a new perspective, by taking into account how thoroughly proteins have been studied. We discovered that the set of literature-curated protein-protein interactions is qualitatively different when restricted to proteins that have received extensive attention from the scientific community. In particular, these interactions are less often supported by yeast two-hybrid, and more often by more complex experiments such as biochemical activity assays. Our analysis showed that high-throughput and literature-curated interactome datasets are more correlated than commonly assumed, but that this bias can be corrected for by focusing on well-studied proteins. We thus propose a simple and reliable method to estimate the size of an interactome, combining literature-curated data involving well-studied proteins with high-throughput data. It yields an estimate of at least 37, 600 direct physical protein-protein interactions in S. cerevisiae.


Our method leads to higher and more accurate estimates of the interactome size, as it accounts for interactions that are genuine yet difficult to detect with commonly-used experimental assays. This shows that we are even further from completing the yeast interactome map than previously expected.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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