Integrating the Alzheimer's disease proteome and transcriptome: a comprehensive network model of a complex disease

OMICS. 2012 Jan-Feb;16(1-2):37-49. doi: 10.1089/omi.2011.0054.


Network models combined with gene expression studies have become useful tools for studying complex diseases like Alzheimer's disease. We constructed a "Core" Alzheimer's disease protein interaction network by human curation of the primary literature. The Core network consisted of 775 nodes and 2,204 interactions. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive and accurate protein interaction network yet constructed for Alzheimer's disease. An "Expanded" network was computationally constructed by adding additional proteins that interacted with Core network proteins, and consisted of 4,945 nodes and 26,064 interactions. We then mapped existing gene expression studies to the Core network. This combined data model identified the MAPK/ERK pathway and clathrin-mediated receptor endocytosis as key pathways in Alzheimer's disease. Important proteins in the MAPK/ERK pathway that interacted in the Core network formed a downregulated cluster of nodes, whereas clathrin and several clathrin accessory proteins that interacted in the Core network formed an upregulated cluster of nodes. The MAPK/ERK pathway is a key component in synaptic plasticity and learning, processes disrupted in Alzheimer's. Clathrin and clathrin adaptor proteins are involved in the endocytosis of the APP protein that can lead to increased intracellular levels of amyloid beta peptide, contributing to the progression of Alzheimer's.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Protein Interaction Maps*
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Proteome