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Largest study of human 'interactome' reveals a novel way

Discoveries made during the first large-scale analysis of interactions between proteins in our cells hold promise for identifying new genes involved in genetic diseases, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB) in Bangalore.

The findings, reported in the March issue of Nature Genetics, were made using a database of more than 25,000 protein-protein interactions compiled by the Hopkins-IOB team. The result is believed to be the most detailed human "interactome" yet describing the interplay of proteins that occur in cells during health and disease.

"Genes are important because they are the blueprints for proteins, but proteins are where the action is in human life and health," says Akhilesh Pandey, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Institute of Genetic Medicine and the departments of Biological Chemistry, Oncology and Pathology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "This ability to find links between sets of proteins involved in different genetic disorders offers a novel approach for more rapidly identifying new candidate genes involved in human diseases," he says.

The analysis included interactions among 1,077 genes coding for proteins linked to 3,133 diseases, the researchers report. Significantly, it showed that proteins encoded by genes that are mutated in inherited disorders were likely to interact with proteins already known to cause similar disorders. In addition, the researchers disproved the long-held belief among scientists that the relative importance of a specific protein is always reflected by the number of other proteins it interacts with in the cell.

According to Pandey, the team's comparison of almost 25,000 human, 16,000 yeast, 5,500 worm, and 25,000 fly protein-protein interactions showed that, among these more than 70,000 links, only 16 were common to all four species.

Researchers say this low level of interactome overlap among species
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
24-Feb-2006


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