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BMC Bioinformatics. 2009 Apr 29;10 Suppl 4:S5. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-10-S4-S5.

Assessing reliability of protein-protein interactions by integrative analysis of data in model organisms.

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Bioinformatics and Computational Life-Science Laboratory, ITTC, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Kansas, 1520 west 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.



Protein-protein interactions play vital roles in nearly all cellular processes and are involved in the construction of biological pathways such as metabolic and signal transduction pathways. Although large-scale experiments have enabled the discovery of thousands of previously unknown linkages among proteins in many organisms, the high-throughput interaction data is often associated with high error rates. Since protein interaction networks have been utilized in numerous biological inferences, the inclusive experimental errors inevitably affect the quality of such prediction. Thus, it is essential to assess the quality of the protein interaction data.


In this paper, a novel Bayesian network-based integrative framework is proposed to assess the reliability of protein-protein interactions. We develop a cross-species in silico model that assigns likelihood scores to individual protein pairs based on the information entirely extracted from model organisms. Our proposed approach integrates multiple microarray datasets and novel features derived from gene ontology. Furthermore, the confidence scores for cross-species protein mappings are explicitly incorporated into our model. Applying our model to predict protein interactions in the human genome, we are able to achieve 80% in sensitivity and 70% in specificity. Finally, we assess the overall quality of the experimentally determined yeast protein-protein interaction dataset. We observe that the more high-throughput experiments confirming an interaction, the higher the likelihood score, which confirms the effectiveness of our approach.


This study demonstrates that model organisms certainly provide important information for protein-protein interaction inference and assessment. The proposed method is able to assess not only the overall quality of an interaction dataset, but also the quality of individual protein-protein interactions. We expect the method to continually improve as more high quality interaction data from more model organisms becomes available and is readily scalable to a genome-wide application.

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