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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;910:279-96. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-965-5_12.

Protein interactions: mapping interactome networks to support drug target discovery and selection.

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Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics Group, Cancer Research Center (IBMCC, CSIC/USAL), Salamanca, Spain.


Proteins are biomolecular structures that build the microscopic working machinery of any living system. Proteins within the cells and biological systems do not act alone, but rather team up into macromolecular structures enclosing intricate physicochemical dynamic connections to undertake biological functions. A critical step towards unraveling the complex molecular relationships in living systems is the mapping of protein-to-protein physical "interactions". The complete map of protein interactions that can occur in a living organism is called the "interactome". Achieving an adequate atlas of all the protein interactions within a living system should allow to build its interaction network and to identity the "central nodes" that can be critical for the function, the homeostasis, and the movement of such system. Focusing on human studies, the data about the human interactome are most relevant for current biomedical research, because it is clear that the location of the proteins in the interactome network will allow to evaluate their centrality and to redefine the potential value of each protein as a drug target. This chapter presents our current knowledge on the human protein-protein interactome and explains how such knowledge can help us to select adequate targets for drugs.

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