Motivation: High-throughput experimental and computational methods are generating a wealth of protein-protein interaction data for a variety of organisms. However, data produced by current state-of-the-art methods include many false positives, which can hinder the analyses needed to derive biological insights. One way to address this problem is to assign confidence scores that reflect the reliability and biological significance of each interaction. Most previously described scoring methods use a set of likely true positives to train a model to score all interactions in a dataset. A single positive training set, however, may be biased and not representative of true interaction space.
Results: We demonstrate a method to score protein interactions by utilizing multiple independent sets of training positives to reduce the potential bias inherent in using a single training set. We used a set of benchmark yeast protein interactions to show that our approach outperforms other scoring methods. Our approach can also score interactions across data types, which makes it more widely applicable than many previously proposed methods. We applied the method to protein interaction data from both Drosophila melanogaster and Homo sapiens. Independent evaluations show that the resulting confidence scores accurately reflect the biological significance of the interactions.