Building and exploring an integrated human kinase network: global organization and medical entry points

J Proteomics. 2014 Jul 31;107(100):113-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2014.03.028. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Biological matter is organized in functional networks of different natures among which kinase-substrate and protein-protein interactions play an important role. Large public data collections allowed us to compile an important corpus of interaction data around human protein kinases. One of the most interesting observations analyzing this network is that coherence in kinase functional activity relies on kinase substrate interactions primarily and not on which protein complexes are formed around them. Further dissecting the two types of interactions at the level of kinase groups (CMGCs, Tyrosine kinases, etc.) we show a prevalence of intra-group interconnectivity, which we can naturally relate to current scenarios of evolution of biological networks. Tracking publication dates we observe high correlation of kinase interaction research focus with general kinase research. We find a similar bias in the targets of kinase inhibitors that feature high redundancy. Finally, intersecting kinase inhibitor specificity with sets of kinases located at specific positions in the kinase network, we propose alternative options for future therapeutic strategies using these compounds.

Biological significance: Despite its importance for cellular regulation and the fact that protein kinases feature prominent targets of modern therapeutic approaches, the structure and logic of the global, integrated protein phosphorylation network have not been investigated intensively. To focus on the regulatory skeleton of the phosphorylation network, we contemplated a network consisting of kinases, their substrates, and publicly available physical protein interactions. Analysis of this network at multiple levels allowed establishing a series of interesting properties such as prevalence of kinase substrate interactions as opposed to general protein-protein interactions for establishing a holistic control over kinases activities. Kinases controlling many or a few only other kinases, in addition to non-kinases, were distributed in cellular compartments differently. They were also targeted by kinase inhibitors with distinct success rates. Non-kinases tightly regulated by a large number of kinases were involved in biological processes both specific and shared with their regulators while being preferably localized in the nucleus. Collectively, these observations may provide for a new perspective in the elaboration of pharmacological intervention strategies. We complemented our study of kinase interactions with a perspective of how this type of data is generated in comparison with general research about those enzymes. Namely, what was the temporal evolution of the research community attention for interaction versus non-interaction-based kinase experiments. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: "20years of Proteomics" in memory of Viatliano Pallini" Guest Editors: Luca Bini, Juan J. Calvete, Natacha Turck, Denis Hochstrasser and Jean-Charles Sanchez.

Keywords: Bioinformatics; Drugs; Kinases; Network; System biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases* / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases* / genetics
  • Protein Kinases* / metabolism


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinases