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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 10;11(6):e0156455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156455. eCollection 2016.

Multiple-Localization and Hub Proteins.

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Graduate School of Information Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.
Faculty of Engineering, Maebashi Institute of Technology, Maebashi, Japan.


Protein-protein interactions are fundamental for all biological phenomena, and protein-protein interaction networks provide a global view of the interactions. The hub proteins, with many interaction partners, play vital roles in the networks. We investigated the subcellular localizations of proteins in the human network, and found that the ones localized in multiple subcellular compartments, especially the nucleus/cytoplasm proteins (NCP), the cytoplasm/cell membrane proteins (CMP), and the nucleus/cytoplasm/cell membrane proteins (NCMP), tend to be hubs. Examinations of keywords suggested that among NCP, those related to post-translational modifications and transcription functions are the major contributors to the large number of interactions. These types of proteins are characterized by a multi-domain architecture and intrinsic disorder. A survey of the typical hub proteins with prominent numbers of interaction partners in the type revealed that most are either transcription factors or co-regulators involved in signaling pathways. They translocate from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, triggered by the phosphorylation and/or ubiquitination of intrinsically disordered regions. Among CMP and NCMP, the contributors to the numerous interactions are related to either kinase or ubiquitin ligase activity. Many of them reside on the cytoplasmic side of the cell membrane, and act as the upstream regulators of signaling pathways. Overall, these hub proteins function to transfer external signals to the nucleus, through the cell membrane and the cytoplasm. Our analysis suggests that multiple-localization is a crucial concept to characterize groups of hub proteins and their biological functions in cellular information processing.

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