Tools of the trade: studying molecular networks in plants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2016 Apr:30:143-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Mar 15.


Driven by recent technological improvements, genes can be now studied in a larger biological context. Genes and their protein products rarely operate as a single entity and large-scale mapping by protein-protein interactions can unveil the molecular complexes that form in the cell to carry out various functions. Expression analysis under multiple conditions, supplemented with protein-DNA binding data can highlight when genes are active and how they are regulated. Representing these data in networks and finding strongly connected sub-graphs has proven to be a powerful tool to predict the function of unknown genes. As such networks are gradually becoming available for various plant species, it becomes possible to study how networks evolve. This review summarizes currently available network data and related tools for plants. Furthermore we aim to provide an outlook of future analyses that can be done in plants based on work done in other fields.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Databases, Factual
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Models, Biological
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism*