Toward an understanding of the protein interaction network of the human liver

Mol Syst Biol. 2011 Oct 11:7:536. doi: 10.1038/msb.2011.67.


Proteome-scale protein interaction maps are available for many organisms, ranging from bacteria, yeast, worms and flies to humans. These maps provide substantial new insights into systems biology, disease research and drug discovery. However, only a small fraction of the total number of human protein-protein interactions has been identified. In this study, we map the interactions of an unbiased selection of 5026 human liver expression proteins by yeast two-hybrid technology and establish a human liver protein interaction network (HLPN) composed of 3484 interactions among 2582 proteins. The data set has a validation rate of over 72% as determined by three independent biochemical or cellular assays. The network includes metabolic enzymes and liver-specific, liver-phenotype and liver-disease proteins that are individually critical for the maintenance of liver functions. The liver enriched proteins had significantly different topological properties and increased our understanding of the functional relationships among proteins in a liver-specific manner. Our data represent the first comprehensive description of a HLPN, which could be a valuable tool for understanding the functioning of the protein interaction network of the human liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein
  • Gene Silencing / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Liver* / metabolism
  • Luciferases / analysis
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Plasmids
  • Protein Interaction Mapping*
  • Protein Interaction Maps*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Systems Biology*
  • Transfection
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Proteins
  • Proteome
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Luciferases