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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34503. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034503. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Reduced polymorphism in domains involved in protein-protein interactions.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, IMRIC, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Genome sequencing of various individuals or isolates of the same species allows studying the polymorphism level of specific proteins and protein domains. Here we ask whether domains that are known to be involved in mediating protein-protein interactions show lower polymorphism than other domains. To this end we take advantage of a recent genome sequence dataset of 39 Saccahromyces cerevisiae strains and the experimentally determined protein interaction network of the laboratory strain. We analyze the polymorphism in domain residues involved in interactions at various levels of resolution, depending on their likelihood to be interaction mediators. We find that domains involved in interactions are less polymorphic than other domains. Furthermore, as the likelihood of a residue to be involved in interaction increases, its polymorphism decreases. Our results suggest that purifying selection operates on domains capable of mediating protein interactions to maintain their function.

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