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Proteome Sci. 2012 Jun 21;10 Suppl 1:S3. doi: 10.1186/1477-5956-10-S1-S3.

Accuracy improvement in protein complex prediction from protein interaction networks by refining cluster overlaps.

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  • 1Department of Computer Science, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA.



Recent computational techniques have facilitated analyzing genome-wide protein-protein interaction data for several model organisms. Various graph-clustering algorithms have been applied to protein interaction networks on the genomic scale for predicting the entire set of potential protein complexes. In particular, the density-based clustering algorithms which are able to generate overlapping clusters, i.e. the clusters sharing a set of nodes, are well-suited to protein complex detection because each protein could be a member of multiple complexes. However, their accuracy is still limited because of complex overlap patterns of their output clusters.


We present a systematic approach of refining the overlapping clusters identified from protein interaction networks. We have designed novel metrics to assess cluster overlaps: overlap coverage and overlapping consistency. We then propose an overlap refinement algorithm. It takes as input the clusters produced by existing density-based graph-clustering methods and generates a set of refined clusters by parameterizing the metrics. To evaluate protein complex prediction accuracy, we used the f-measure by comparing each refined cluster to known protein complexes. The experimental results with the yeast protein-protein interaction data sets from BioGRID and DIP demonstrate that accuracy on protein complex prediction has increased significantly after refining cluster overlaps.


The effectiveness of the proposed cluster overlap refinement approach for protein complex detection has been validated in this study. Analyzing overlaps of the clusters from protein interaction networks is a crucial task for understanding of functional roles of proteins and topological characteristics of the functional systems.

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