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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2002 Feb;1(2):104-16.

Describing biological protein interactions in terms of protein states and state transitions: the LiveDIP database.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCLA-DOE Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1570, USA.


Biological protein-protein interactions differ from the more general class of physical interactions; in a biological interaction, both proteins must be in their proper states (e.g. covalently modified state, conformational state, cellular location state, etc.). Also in every biological interaction, one or both interacting molecules undergo a transition to a new state. This regulation of protein states through protein-protein interactions underlies many dynamic biological processes inside cells. Therefore, understanding biological interactions requires information on protein states. Toward this goal, DIP (the Database of Interacting Proteins) has been expanded to LiveDIP, which describes protein interactions by protein states and state transitions. This additional level of characterization permits a more complete picture of the protein-protein interaction networks and is crucial to an integrated understanding of genome-scale biology. The search tools provided by LiveDIP, Pathfinder, and Batch Search allow users to assemble biological pathways from all the protein-protein interactions collated from the scientific literature in LiveDIP. Tools have also been developed to integrate the protein-protein interaction networks of LiveDIP with large scale genomic data such as microarray data. An example of these tools applied to analyzing the pheromone response pathway in yeast suggests that the pathway functions in the context of a complex protein-protein interaction network. Seven of the eleven proteins involved in signal transduction are under negative or positive regulation of up to five other proteins through biological protein-protein interactions. During pheromone response, the mRNA expression levels of these signaling proteins exhibit different time course profiles. There is no simple correlation between changes in transcription levels and the signal intensity. This points to the importance of proteomic studies to understand how cells modulate and integrate signals. Integrating large scale, yeast two-hybrid data with mRNA expression data suggests biological interactions that may participate in pheromone response. These examples illustrate how LiveDIP provides data and tools for biological pathway discovery and pathway analysis.

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