Constructing a robust protein-protein interaction network by integrating multiple public databases

Department of Information Science, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S, University Ave, Little Rock, AR 72204-1099, USA.
BMC Bioinformatics (Impact Factor: 2.58). 10/2011; 12 Suppl 10(Suppl 10):S7. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-12-S10-S7
Source: PubMed


Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are a critical component for many underlying biological processes. A PPI network can provide insight into the mechanisms of these processes, as well as the relationships among different proteins and toxicants that are potentially involved in the processes. There are many PPI databases publicly available, each with a specific focus. The challenge is how to effectively combine their contents to generate a robust and biologically relevant PPI network.
In this study, seven public PPI databases, BioGRID, DIP, HPRD, IntAct, MINT, REACTOME, and SPIKE, were used to explore a powerful approach to combine multiple PPI databases for an integrated PPI network. We developed a novel method called k-votes to create seven different integrated networks by using values of k ranging from 1-7. Functional modules were mined by using SCAN, a Structural Clustering Algorithm for Networks. Overall module qualities were evaluated for each integrated network using the following statistical and biological measures: (1) modularity, (2) similarity-based modularity, (3) clustering score, and (4) enrichment.
Each integrated human PPI network was constructed based on the number of votes (k) for a particular interaction from the committee of the original seven PPI databases. The performance of functional modules obtained by SCAN from each integrated network was evaluated. The optimal value for k was determined by the functional module analysis. Our results demonstrate that the k-votes method outperforms the traditional union approach in terms of both statistical significance and biological meaning. The best network is achieved at k = 2, which is composed of interactions that are confirmed in at least two PPI databases. In contrast, the traditional union approach yields an integrated network that consists of all interactions of seven PPI databases, which might be subject to high false positives.
We determined that the k-votes method for constructing a robust PPI network by integrating multiple public databases outperforms previously reported approaches and that a value of k=2 provides the best results. The developed strategies for combining databases show promise in the advancement of network construction and modeling.

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    • "For instance, unweighted approaches such as the simple union of networks has been applied to the prioritization of genes in Alzheimer's disease using a guilt-by-association inference rule [47], or to the integration of PPI data of model organisms mapped to human through homology [19], or in the context of the functional interpretation of genomic variants to the integration of gene interaction networks [50], or to find functional modules in networks integrated from multiple public databases [51]. Other unweighted approaches for gene prioritization average the scaled Gram matrices obtained from different sources of functional information using suitable kernels [46]. "
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