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BMC Bioinformatics. 2011 Jul 18;12:289. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-12-289.

Bio::Homology::InterologWalk--a Perl module to build putative protein-protein interaction networks through interolog mapping.

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Centre for Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh, Hugh Robson Building, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9XD, UK.



Protein-protein interaction (PPI) data are widely used to generate network models that aim to describe the relationships between proteins in biological systems. The fidelity and completeness of such networks is primarily limited by the paucity of protein interaction information and by the restriction of most of these data to just a few widely studied experimental organisms. In order to extend the utility of existing PPIs, computational methods can be used that exploit functional conservation between orthologous proteins across taxa to predict putative PPIs or 'interologs'. To date most interolog prediction efforts have been restricted to specific biological domains with fixed underlying data sources and there are no software tools available that provide a generalised framework for 'on-the-fly' interolog prediction.


We introduce Bio::Homology::InterologWalk, a Perl module to retrieve, prioritise and visualise putative protein-protein interactions through an orthology-walk method. The module uses orthology and experimental interaction data to generate putative PPIs and optionally collates meta-data into an Interaction Prioritisation Index that can be used to help prioritise interologs for further analysis. We show the application of our interolog prediction method to the genomic interactome of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We analyse the resulting interaction networks and show that the method proposes new interactome members and interactions that are candidates for future experimental investigation.


Our interolog prediction tool employs the Ensembl Perl API and PSICQUIC enabled protein interaction data sources to generate up to date interologs 'on-the-fly'. This represents a significant advance on previous methods for interolog prediction as it allows the use of the latest orthology and protein interaction data for all of the genomes in Ensembl. The module outputs simple text files, making it easy to customise the results by post-processing, allowing the putative PPI datasets to be easily integrated into existing analysis workflows. The Bio::Homology::InterologWalk module, sample scripts and full documentation are freely available from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) under the GNU Public license.

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