Comparative analysis of biological networks is a major problem in computational integrative systems biology. By computing the maximum common edge subgraph between a set of networks, one is able to detect conserved substructures between them and quantify their topological similarity. To aid such analyses we have developed CytoMCS, a Cytoscape app for computing inexact solutions to the maximum common edge subgraph problem for two or more graphs. Our algorithm uses an iterative local search heuristic for computing conserved subgraphs, optimizing a squared edge conservation score that is able to detect not only fully conserved edges but also partially conserved edges. It can be applied to any set of directed or undirected, simple graphs loaded as networks into Cytoscape, e.g. protein-protein interaction networks or gene regulatory networks. CytoMCS is available as a Cytoscape app at http://apps.cytoscape.org/apps/cytomcs.
Keywords: global network alignment; local search; network alignment; networks.