Background: Extensive protein interaction maps are being constructed for yeast, worm, and fly to ask how the proteins organize into pathways and systems, but no such genome-wide interaction map yet exists for the set of human proteins. To prepare for studies in humans, we wished to establish tests for the accuracy of future interaction assays and to consolidate the known interactions among human proteins.
Results: We established two tests of the accuracy of human protein interaction datasets and measured the relative accuracy of the available data. We then developed and applied natural language processing and literature-mining algorithms to recover from Medline abstracts 6,580 interactions among 3,737 human proteins. A three-part algorithm was used: first, human protein names were identified in Medline abstracts using a discriminator based on conditional random fields, then interactions were identified by the co-occurrence of protein names across the set of Medline abstracts, filtering the interactions with a Bayesian classifier to enrich for legitimate physical interactions. These mined interactions were combined with existing interaction data to obtain a network of 31,609 interactions among 7,748 human proteins, accurate to the same degree as the existing datasets.
Conclusion: These interactions and the accuracy benchmarks will aid interpretation of current functional genomics data and provide a basis for determining the quality of future large-scale human protein interaction assays. Projecting from the approximately 15 interactions per protein in the best-sampled interaction set to the estimated 25,000 human genes implies more than 375,000 interactions in the complete human protein interaction network. This set therefore represents no more than 10% of the complete network.