Correlation between gene expression profiles and protein-protein interactions within and across genomes

Bioinformatics. 2005 Jun 1;21(11):2730-8. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bti398. Epub 2005 Mar 29.


Motivation: Function annotation of an unclassified protein on the basis of its interaction partners is well documented in the literature. Reliable predictions of interactions from other data sources such as gene expression measurements would provide a useful route to function annotation. We investigate the global relationship of protein-protein interactions with gene expression. This relationship is studied in four evolutionarily diverse species, for which substantial information regarding their interactions and expression is available: human, mouse, yeast and Escherichia coli.

Results: In E.coli the expression of interacting pairs is highly correlated in comparison to random pairs, while in the other three species, the correlation of expression of interacting pairs is only slightly stronger than that of random pairs. To strengthen the correlation, we developed a protocol to integrate ortholog information into the interaction and expression datasets. In all four genomes, the likelihood of predicting protein interactions from highly correlated expression data is increased using our protocol. In yeast, for example, the likelihood of predicting a true interaction, when the correlation is > 0.9, increases from 1.4 to 9.4. The improvement demonstrates that protein interactions are reflected in gene expression and the correlation between the two is strengthened by evolution information. The results establish that co-expression of interacting protein pairs is more conserved than that of random ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Proteome