Assessment of protein domain fusions in human protein interaction networks prediction: application to the human kinetochore model

N Biotechnol. 2010 Dec 31;27(6):755-65. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


In order to understand how biological systems function it is necessary to determine the interactions and associations between proteins. Some proteins, involved in a common biological process and encoded by separate genes in one organism, can be found fused within a single protein chain in other organisms. By detecting these triplets, a functional relationship can be established between the unfused proteins. Here we use a domain fusion prediction method to predict these protein interactions for the human interactome. We observed that gene fusion events are more related to physical interaction between proteins than to other weaker functional relationships such as participation in a common biological pathway. These results suggest that domain fusion is an appropriate method for predicting protein complexes. The most reliable fused domain predictions were used to build protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks. These predicted PPI network models showed the same topological features as real biological networks and different features from random behaviour. We built the PPI domain fusion sub-network model of the human kinetochore and observed that the majority of the predicted interactions have not yet been experimentally characterised in the publicly available PPI repositories. The study of the human kinetochore domain fusion sub-network reveals undiscovered kinetochore proteins with presumably relevant functions, such as hubs with many connections in the kinetochore sub-network. These results suggest that experimentally hidden regions in the predicted PPI networks contain key functional elements, associated with important functional areas, still undiscovered in the human interactome. Until novel experiments shed light on these hidden regions; domain fusion predictions provide a valuable approach for exploring them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Databases, Protein
  • Gene Fusion*
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores*
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics*
  • Reproducibility of Results