Computational identification of protein-protein interactions in model plant proteomes

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 19;9(1):8740. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45072-8.


Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) play essential roles in many biological processes. A PPI network provides crucial information on how biological pathways are structured and coordinated from individual protein functions. In the past two decades, large-scale PPI networks of a handful of organisms were determined by experimental techniques. However, these experimental methods are time-consuming, expensive, and are not easy to perform on new target organisms. Large-scale PPI data is particularly sparse in plant organisms. Here, we developed a computational approach for detecting PPIs trained and tested on known PPIs of Arabidopsis thaliana and applied to three plants, Arabidopsis thaliana, Glycine max (soybean), and Zea mays (maize) to discover new PPIs on a genome-scale. Our method considers a variety of features including protein sequences, gene co-expression, functional association, and phylogenetic profiles. This is the first work where a PPI prediction method was developed for is the first PPI prediction method applied on benchmark datasets of Arabidopsis. The method showed a high prediction accuracy of over 90% and very high precision of close to 1.0. We predicted 50,220 PPIs in Arabidopsis thaliana, 13,175,414 PPIs in corn, and 13,527,834 PPIs in soybean. Newly predicted PPIs were classified into three confidence levels according to the availability of existing supporting evidence and discussed. Predicted PPIs in the three plant genomes are made available for future reference.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Models, Biological*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins* / genetics
  • Plant Proteins* / metabolism
  • Protein Interaction Maps / physiology*
  • Proteome* / genetics
  • Proteome* / metabolism
  • Soybeans* / genetics
  • Soybeans* / metabolism
  • Zea mays* / genetics
  • Zea mays* / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins
  • Proteome