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PLoS Comput Biol. 2009 Oct;5(10):e1000523. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000523. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

The Modular Organization of Protein Interactions in Escherichia coli.

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Program in Molecular Structure and Function, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Escherichia coli serves as an excellent model for the study of fundamental cellular processes such as metabolism, signalling and gene expression. Understanding the function and organization of proteins within these processes is an important step towards a 'systems' view of E. coli. Integrating experimental and computational interaction data, we present a reliable network of 3,989 functional interactions between 1,941 E. coli proteins ( approximately 45% of its proteome). These were combined with a recently generated set of 3,888 high-quality physical interactions between 918 proteins and clustered to reveal 316 discrete modules. In addition to known protein complexes (e.g., RNA and DNA polymerases), we identified modules that represent biochemical pathways (e.g., nitrate regulation and cell wall biosynthesis) as well as batteries of functionally and evolutionarily related processes. To aid the interpretation of modular relationships, several case examples are presented, including both well characterized and novel biochemical systems. Together these data provide a global view of the modular organization of the E. coli proteome and yield unique insights into structural and evolutionary relationships in bacterial networks.

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