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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Aug 21;104(34):13655-60. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Propagation of large concentration changes in reversible protein-binding networks.

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  • 1Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA.


We study how the dynamic equilibrium of the reversible protein-protein-binding network in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae responds to large changes in abundances of individual proteins. The magnitude of shifts between free and bound concentrations of their immediate and more distant neighbors in the network is influenced by such factors as the network topology, the distribution of protein concentrations among its nodes, and the average binding strength. Our primary conclusion is that, on average, the effects of a perturbation are strongly localized and exponentially decay with the network distance away from the perturbed node, which explains why, despite globally connected topology, individual functional modules in such networks are able to operate fairly independently. We also found that under specific favorable conditions, realized in a significant number of paths in the yeast network, concentration perturbations can selectively propagate over considerable network distances (up to four steps). Such "action-at-a-distance" requires high concentrations of heterodimers along the path as well as low free (unbound) concentration of intermediate proteins.

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