Functional topology in a network of protein interactions

N. Pržulj, D. A. Wigle, I. Jurisica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Scopus citations


Motivation: The building blocks of biological networks are individual protein-protein interactions (PPIs). The cumulative PPI data set in Saccharomyces cerevisiae now exceeds 78 000. Studying the network of these interactions will provide valuable insight into the inner workings of cells. Results: We performed a systematic graph theory-based analysis of this PPI network to construct computational models for describing and predicting the properties of lethal mutations and proteins participating in genetic interactions, functional groups, protein complexes and signaling pathways. Our analysis suggests that lethal mutations are not only highly connected within the network, but they also satisfy an additional property: their removal causes a disruption in network structure. We also provide evidence for the existence of alternate paths that bypass viable proteins in PPI networks, while such paths do not exist for lethal mutations. In addition, we show that distinct functional classes of proteins have differing network properties. We also demonstrate a way to extract and iteratively predict protein complexes and signaling pathways. We evaluate the power of predictions by comparing them with a random model, and assess accuracy of predictions by analyzing their overlap with MIPS database. Conclusions: Our models provide a means for understanding the complex wiring underlying cellular function, and enable us to predict essentiality, genetic interaction, function, protein complexes and cellular pathways. This analysis uncovers structure-function relationships observable in a large PPI network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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