Identification of protein-protein interactions is an important first step to understand living systems. High-throughput experimental approaches have accumulated large amount of information on protein-protein interactions in human and other model organisms. Such interaction information has been successfully transferred to other species, in which the experimental data are limited. However, the annotation transfer method could yield false positive interologs due to the lack of conservation of interactions when applied to phylogenetically distant organisms.
To address this issue, we used phylogenetic profile method to filter false positives in interologs based on the notion that evolutionary conserved interactions show similar patterns of occurrence along the genomes. The approach was applied to Mus musculus, in which the experimentally identified interactions are limited. We first inferred the protein-protein interactions in Mus musculus by using two approaches: i) identifying mouse orthologs of interacting proteins (interologs) based on the experimental protein-protein interaction data from other organisms; and ii) analyzing frequency of mouse ortholog co-occurrence in predicted operons of bacteria. We then filtered possible false-positives in the predicted interactions using the phylogenetic profiles. We found that this filtering method significantly increased the frequency of interacting protein-pairs coexpressed in the same cells/tissues in gene expression omnibus (GEO) database as well as the frequency of interacting protein-pairs shared the similar Gene Ontology (GO) terms for biological processes and cellular localizations. The data supports the notion that phylogenetic profile helps to reduce the number of false positives in interologs.
We have developed protein-protein interaction database in mouse, which contains 41109 interologs. We have also developed a web interface to facilitate the use of database http://lgsun.grc.nia.nih.gov/mppi/.