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Human Protein Interactome

Human Protein Interactome Visualization


This scientific article published in Nature discusses the scientific community’s advances in constructing a cohesive protein interactome in Humans. Proteins can be part of larger protein complexes which are in turn part of larger protein interaction networks. The entire set of all proteins and their corresponding interactions with other proteins forms the protein interactome. Within the last decade, the sequencing of human DNA has rocketed. As a result, the scientific community has a great deal of genomic data that needs interpretation. Biologists that study functional genomics try to determine what functions or roles different sequences of DNA play within the human and different organisms. One critical step in determining the biological function of a piece of DNA is determine whether the DNA sequence can yield a protein that plays a role in a larger interactions network. This article marks a milestone in constructing a human protein interactome because these scientists have augmented and coalesced protein interactions data from different sources into a single cohesive network.


This article is relevant to our Networks course because much of the analysis that these scientists conduct is built on the basic principles we learned in class regarding graphical networks. Essentially, nodes represent proteins and edges represent  protein interactions. Edges can be given weights that illustrate the confidence level of such a protein interaction. Edges can also be binary: an edge can represent an inhibitory or activation type of interaction. The concept of strong triadic closure plays a role in determining which protein interactions are more likely or less likely to occur within the cell. The density and number of edges emanating from a single node also help biologists determine which proteins are truly essential to basic life processes. In fact, the moment such a human protein interactome is constructed, the modes of analysis are numerous and active areas of research! This is definitely an exciting time for scientists that are trying to determine the biological functions of a sea of genomic information.




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October 2014