Protein synthesis is one of the most important reactions in the cell. Recent experimental studies indicated that this complex reaction can be achieved with a minimum complement of 36 proteins and ribosomes by reconstituting an Escherichia coli-based in vitro translation system with these protein components highly purified on an individual basis. From the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of E. coli proteins, these minimal protein components are known to interact physically with large numbers of proteins. However, it is unclear what fraction of E. coli proteins are linked functionally with the minimal protein synthesis system. We investigated the effects of each of the 4194 E. coli ORF products on the minimal protein synthesis system; at least 12% of the entire ORF products, a significant fraction of the gene product of E. coli, affect the activity of this system. Furthermore 34% of these functional modifiers present in the PPI network were shown by mapping to be directly linked (i.e. to interact physically) with the minimal components of the PPI network. Topological analysis of the relationships between modifiers and the minimal components in the PPI network indicated clustering of the minimal components. The modifiers showed no such clustering, indicating that the location of functional modifiers is spread across the PPI network rather than clustering close to the minimal protein components. These observations may reflect the evolutionary process of the protein synthesis system.