Cellular processes often depend on stable physical associations between proteins. Despite recent progress, knowledge of the composition of human protein complexes remains limited. To close this gap, we applied an integrative global proteomic profiling approach, based on chromatographic separation of cultured human cell extracts into more than one thousand biochemical fractions which were subsequently analyzed by quantitative tandem mass spectrometry, to systematically identify a network of 13,993 high-confidence physical interactions among 3,006 stably-associated soluble human proteins. Most of the 622 putative protein complexes we report are linked to core biological processes, and encompass both candidate disease genes and unnanotated proteins to inform on mechanism. Strikingly, whereas larger multi-protein assemblies tend to be more extensively annotated and evolutionarily conserved, human protein complexes with 5 or fewer subunits are far more likely to be functionally un-annotated or restricted to vertebrates, suggesting more recent functional innovations.
Motivation: High-throughput protein identification experiments based on tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) often suffer from low sensitivity and low-confidence protein identifications. In a typical shotgun proteomics experiment, it is assumed that all proteins are equally likely to be present. However, there is often other evidence to suggest that a protein is present and confidence in individual protein identification can be updated accordingly.
Results: We develop a method that analyzes MS/MS experiments in the larger context of the biological processes active in a cell. Our method, MSNet, improves protein identification in shotgun proteomics experiments by considering information on functional associations from a gene functional network. MSNet substantially increases the number of proteins identified in the sample at a given error rate. We identify 8–29% more proteins than the original MS experiment when applied to yeast grown in different experimental conditions analyzed on different MS/MS instruments, and 37% more proteins in a human sample. We validate up to 94% of our identifications in yeast by presence in ground-truth reference sets.
Availability and Implementation: Software and datasets are available at http://aug.csres.utexas.edu/msnet
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Motivation: Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) offers fast and reliable characterization of complex protein mixtures, but suffers from low sensitivity in protein identification. In a typical shotgun proteomics experiment, it is assumed that all proteins are equally likely to be present. However, there is often other information available, e.g. the probability of a protein's presence is likely to correlate with its mRNA concentration.
Results: We develop a Bayesian score that estimates the posterior probability of a protein's presence in the sample given its identification in an MS/MS experiment and its mRNA concentration measured under similar experimental conditions. Our method, MSpresso, substantially increases the number of proteins identified in an MS/MS experiment at the same error rate, e.g. in yeast, MSpresso increases the number of proteins identified by ∼40%. We apply MSpresso to data from different MS/MS instruments, experimental conditions and organisms (Escherichia coli, human), and predict 19–63% more proteins across the different datasets. MSpresso demonstrates that incorporating prior knowledge of protein presence into shotgun proteomics experiments can substantially improve protein identification scores.
Availability and Implementation: Software is available upon request from the authors. Mass spectrometry datasets and supplementary information are available from http://www.marcottelab.org/MSpresso/.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data website: http://www.marcottelab.org/MSpresso/.
Polarizing cells extensively restructure cellular components in a spatially and temporally coupled manner along the major axis of cellular extension. Budding yeast are a useful model of polarized growth, helping to define many molecular components of this conserved process. Besides budding, yeast cells also differentiate upon treatment with pheromone from the opposite mating type, forming a mating projection (the ‘shmoo’) by directional restructuring of the cytoskeleton, localized vesicular transport and overall reorganization of the cytosol. To characterize the proteomic localization changes accompanying polarized growth, we developed and implemented a novel cell microarray-based imaging assay for measuring the spatial redistribution of a large fraction of the yeast proteome, and applied this assay to identify proteins localized along the mating projection following pheromone treatment. We further trained a machine learning algorithm to refine the cell imaging screen, identifying additional shmoo-localized proteins. In all, we identified 74 proteins that specifically localize to the mating projection, including previously uncharacterized proteins (Ycr043c, Ydr348c, Yer071c, Ymr295c, and Yor304c-a) and known polarization complexes such as the exocyst. Functional analysis of these proteins, coupled with quantitative analysis of individual organelle movements during shmoo formation, suggests a model in which the basic machinery for cell polarization is generally conserved between processes forming the bud and the shmoo, with a distinct subset of proteins used only for shmoo formation. The net effect is a defined ordering of major organelles along the polarization axis, with specific proteins implicated at the proximal growth tip.
Upon sensing mating pheromone, budding yeast cells form a mating projection (the ‘shmoo’) that serves as a model for polarized cell growth, involving cytoskeletal/cytosolic restructuring and directed vesicular transport. We developed a cell microarray-based imaging assay for measuring localization of the yeast proteome during polarized growth. We find major organelles ordered along the polarization axis, localize 74 proteins to the growth tip, and observe adaptive reuse of general polarization machinery.
Proteomics; polarized growth; subcellular localization; pheromone response; yeast
One mechanism to account for robustness against gene knockouts or knockdowns is through buffering by gene duplicates, but the extent and general correlates of this process in organisms is still a matter of debate. To reveal general trends of this process, we provide a comprehensive comparison of gene essentiality, duplication and buffering by duplicates across seven bacteria (Mycoplasma genitalium, Bacillus subtilis, Helicobacter pylori, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli), and four eukaryotes (Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast), Caenorhabditis elegans (worm), Drosophila melanogaster (fly), Mus musculus (mouse)).
In nine of the eleven organisms, duplicates significantly increase chances of survival upon gene deletion (P-value ≤ 0.05), but only by up to 13%. Given that duplicates make up to 80% of eukaryotic genomes, the small contribution is surprising and points to dominant roles of other buffering processes, such as alternative metabolic pathways. The buffering capacity of duplicates appears to be independent of the degree of gene essentiality and tends to be higher for genes with high expression levels. For example, buffering capacity increases to 23% amongst highly expressed genes in E. coli. Sequence similarity and the number of duplicates per gene are weak predictors of the duplicate's buffering capacity. In a case study we show that buffering gene duplicates in yeast and worm are somewhat more similar in their functions than non-buffering duplicates and have increased transcriptional and translational activity.
In sum, the extent of gene essentiality and buffering by duplicates is not conserved across organisms and does not correlate with the organisms' apparent complexity. This heterogeneity goes beyond what would be expected from differences in experimental approaches alone. Buffering by duplicates contributes to robustness in several organisms, but to a small extent – and the relatively large amount of buffering by duplicates observed in yeast and worm may be largely specific to these organisms. Thus, the only common factor of buffering by duplicates between different organisms may be the by-product of duplicate retention due to demands of high dosage.
Mass spectrometry (MS) based label-free protein quantitation has mainly focused on analysis of ion peak heights and peptide spectral counts. Most analyses of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) data begin with an enzymatic digestion of a complex protein mixture to generate smaller peptides that can be separated and identified by an MS/MS instrument. Peptide spectral counting techniques attempt to quantify protein abundance by counting the number of detected tryptic peptides and their corresponding MS spectra. However, spectral counting is confounded by the fact that peptide physicochemical properties severely affect MS detection resulting in each peptide having a different detection probability. Lu et al. (2007) described a modified spectral counting technique, Absolute Protein Expression (APEX), which improves on basic spectral counting methods by including a correction factor for each protein (called Oi value) that accounts for variable peptide detection by MS techniques. The technique uses machine learning classification to derive peptide detection probabilities that are used to predict the number of tryptic peptides expected to be detected for one molecule of a particular protein (Oi). This predicted spectral count is compared to the protein's observed MS total spectral count during APEX computation of protein abundances.
The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool, introduced here, is a free open source Java application that supports the APEX protein quantitation technique. The APEX tool uses data from standard tandem mass spectrometry proteomics experiments and provides computational support for APEX protein abundance quantitation through a set of graphical user interfaces that partition thparameter controls for the various processing tasks. The tool also provides a Z-score analysis for identification of significant differential protein expression, a utility to assess APEX classifier performance via cross validation, and a utility to merge multiple APEX results into a standardized format in preparation for further statistical analysis.
The APEX Quantitative Proteomics Tool provides a simple means to quickly derive hundreds to thousands of protein abundance values from standard liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry proteomics datasets. The APEX tool provides a straightforward intuitive interface design overlaying a highly customizable computational workflow to produce protein abundance values from LC-MS/MS datasets.
Proteins interact in complex protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks whose topological properties—such as scale-free topology, hierarchical modularity, and dissortativity—have suggested models of network evolution. Currently preferred models invoke preferential attachment or gene duplication and divergence to produce networks whose topology matches that observed for real PPIs, thus supporting these as likely models for network evolution. Here, we show that the interaction density and homodimeric frequency are highly protein age–dependent in real PPI networks in a manner which does not agree with these canonical models. In light of these results, we propose an alternative stochastic model, which adds each protein sequentially to a growing network in a manner analogous to protein crystal growth (CG) in solution. The key ideas are (1) interaction probability increases with availability of unoccupied interaction surface, thus following an anti-preferential attachment rule, (2) as a network grows, highly connected sub-networks emerge into protein modules or complexes, and (3) once a new protein is committed to a module, further connections tend to be localized within that module. The CG model produces PPI networks consistent in both topology and age distributions with real PPI networks and is well supported by the spatial arrangement of protein complexes of known 3-D structure, suggesting a plausible physical mechanism for network evolution.
Proteins function together forming stable protein complexes or transient interactions in various cellular processes, such as gene regulation and signaling. Here, we address the basic question of how these networks of interacting proteins evolve. This is an important problem, as the structures of such networks underlie important features of biological systems, such as functional modularity, error-tolerance, and stability. It is not yet known how these network architectures originate or what driving forces underlie the observed network structure. Several models have been proposed over the past decade—in particular, a “rich get richer” model (preferential attachment) and a model based upon gene duplication and divergence—often based only on network topologies. Here, we show that real yeast protein interaction networks show a unique age distribution among interacting proteins, which rules out these canonical models. In light of these results, we developed a simple, alternative model based on well-established physical principles, analogous to the process of growing protein crystals in solution. The model better explains many features of real PPI networks, including the network topologies, their characteristic age distributions, and the spatial distribution of subunits of differing ages within protein complexes, suggesting a plausible physical mechanism of network evolution.
Summary: Mass spectrometry-based proteomics stands to gain from additional analysis of its data, but its large, complex datasets make demands on speed and memory usage requiring special consideration from scripting languages. The software library ‘mspire’—developed in the Ruby programming language—offers quick and memory-efficient readers for standard xml proteomics formats, converters for intermediate file types in typical proteomics spectral-identification work flows (including the Bioworks .srf format), and modules for the calculation of peptide false identification rates.
Availability: Freely available at http://mspire.rubyforge.org. Additional data models, usage information, and methods available at http://bioinformatics.icmb.utexas.edu/mspire
BUD23 was identified from a bioinformatics analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes involved in ribosome biogenesis. Deletion of BUD23 leads to severely impaired growth, reduced levels of the small (40S) ribosomal subunit, and a block in processing 20S rRNA to 18S rRNA, a late step in 40S maturation. Bud23 belongs to the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent Rossmann-fold methyltransferase superfamily and is related to small-molecule methyltransferases. Nevertheless, we considered that Bud23 methylates rRNA. Methylation of G1575 is the only mapped modification for which the methylase has not been assigned. Here, we show that this modification is lost in bud23 mutants. The nuclear accumulation of the small-subunit reporters Rps2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) and Rps3-GFP, as well as the rRNA processing intermediate, the 5′ internal transcribed spacer 1, indicate that bud23 mutants are defective for small-subunit export. Mutations in Bud23 that inactivated its methyltransferase activity complemented a bud23Δ mutant. In addition, mutant ribosomes in which G1575 was changed to adenosine supported growth comparable to that of cells with wild-type ribosomes. Thus, Bud23 protein, but not its methyltransferase activity, is important for biogenesis and export of the 40S subunit in yeast.
Regulation of cell cycle progression is fundamental to cell health and reproduction, and failures in this process are associated with many human diseases. Much of our knowledge of cell cycle regulators derives from loss-of-function studies. To reveal new cell cycle regulatory genes that are difficult to identify in loss-of-function studies, we performed a near-genome-wide flow cytometry assay of yeast gene overexpression-induced cell cycle delay phenotypes. We identified 108 genes whose overexpression significantly delayed the progression of the yeast cell cycle at a specific stage. Many of the genes are newly implicated in cell cycle progression, for example SKO1, RFA1, and YPR015C. The overexpression of RFA1 or YPR015C delayed the cell cycle at G2/M phases by disrupting spindle attachment to chromosomes and activating the DNA damage checkpoint, respectively. In contrast, overexpression of the transcription factor SKO1 arrests cells at G1 phase by activating the pheromone response pathway, revealing new cross-talk between osmotic sensing and mating. More generally, 92%–94% of the genes exhibit distinct phenotypes when overexpressed as compared to their corresponding deletion mutants, supporting the notion that many genes may gain functions upon overexpression. This work thus implicates new genes in cell cycle progression, complements previous screens, and lays the foundation for future experiments to define more precisely roles for these genes in cell cycle progression.
All cells require proper cell cycle regulation; failure leads to numerous human diseases. Cell cycle mechanisms are broadly conserved across eukaryotes, with many key regulatory genes known. Nonetheless, our knowledge of regulators is incomplete. Many classic studies have analyzed yeast loss-of-function mutants to identify cell cycle genes. Studies have also implicated genes based upon their overexpression phenotypes, but the effects of gene overexpression on the cell cycle have not been quantified for all yeast genes. We individually quantified the effect of overexpression on cell cycle progression for nearly all (91%) of yeast genes, and we report the 108 genes causing the most significant and reproducible cell cycle defects, most of which have not been previously observed. We characterize three genes in more detail, implicating one in chromosomal segregation and mitotic spindle formation. A second affects mitotic stability and the DNA damage checkpoint. Curiously, overexpression of a third gene, SKO1, arrests the cell cycle by activating the pheromone response pathway, with cells mistakenly behaving as if mating pheromone is present. These results establish a basis for future experiments elucidating precise cell cycle roles for these genes. Similar assays in human cells could help further clarify the many connections between cell cycle control and cancers.
The complete set of mouse genes, as with the set of human genes, is still largely uncharacterized, with many pieces of experimental evidence accumulating regarding the activities and expression of the genes, but the majority of genes as yet still of unknown function. Within the context of the MouseFunc competition, we developed and applied two distinct large-scale data mining approaches to infer the functions (Gene Ontology annotations) of mouse genes from experimental observations from available functional genomics, proteomics, comparative genomics, and phenotypic data. The two strategies — the first using classifiers to map features to annotations, the second propagating annotations from characterized genes to uncharacterized genes along edges in a network constructed from the features — offer alternative and possibly complementary approaches to providing functional annotations. Here, we re-implement and evaluate these approaches and their combination for their ability to predict the proper functional annotations of genes in the MouseFunc data set. We show that, when controlling for the same set of input features, the network approach generally outperformed a naïve Bayesian classifier approach, while their combination offers some improvement over either independently. We make our observations of predictive performance on the MouseFunc competition hold-out set, as well as on a ten-fold cross-validation of the MouseFunc data. Across all 1,339 annotated genes in the MouseFunc test set, the median predictive power was quite strong (median area under a receiver operating characteristic plot of 0.865 and average precision of 0.195), indicating that a mining-based strategy with existing data is a promising path towards discovering mammalian gene functions. As one product of this work, a high-confidence subset of the functional mouse gene network was produced — spanning >70% of mouse genes with >1.6 million associations — that is predictive of mouse (and therefore often human) gene function and functional associations. The network should be generally useful for mammalian gene functional analyses, such as for predicting interactions, inferring functional connections between genes and pathways, and prioritizing candidate genes. The network and all predictions are available on the worldwide web.
Mobile group II introns consist of a catalytic intron RNA and an intron-encoded protein with reverse transcriptase activity, which act together in a ribonucleoprotein particle to promote DNA integration during intron mobility. Previously, we found that the Lactococcus lactis Ll.LtrB intron-encoded protein (LtrA) expressed alone or with the intron RNA to form ribonucleoprotein particles localizes to bacterial cellular poles, potentially accounting for the intron's preferential insertion in the oriC and ter regions of the Escherichia coli chromosome. Here, by using cell microarrays and automated fluorescence microscopy to screen a transposon-insertion library, we identified five E. coli genes (gppA, uhpT, wcaK, ynbC, and zntR) whose disruption results in both an increased proportion of cells with more diffuse LtrA localization and a more uniform genomic distribution of Ll.LtrB-insertion sites. Surprisingly, we find that a common factor affecting LtrA localization in these and other disruptants is the accumulation of intracellular polyphosphate, which appears to bind LtrA and other basic proteins and delocalize them away from the poles. Our findings show that the intracellular localization of a group II intron-encoded protein is a major determinant of insertion-site preference. More generally, our results suggest that polyphosphate accumulation may provide a means of localizing proteins to different sites of action during cellular stress or entry into stationary phase, with potentially wide physiological consequences.
Group II introns are bacterial mobile elements thought to be ancestors of introns—genetic material that is discarded from messenger RNA transcripts—and retroelements—genetic elements and viruses that replicate via reverse transcription—in higher organisms. They propagate by forming a complex consisting of the catalytically active intron RNA and an intron-encoded reverse transcriptase (which converts the RNA to DNA, which can then be reinserted in the host genome). The Ll.LtrB group II intron-encoded protein (LtrA) was found previously to localize to bacterial cellular poles, potentially accounting for the preferential insertion of Ll.LtrB in the replication origin (oriC) and terminus (ter) regions of the Escherichia coli chromosome, which are located near the poles during much of the cell cycle. Here, we identify E. coli genes whose disruption leads both to more diffuse LtrA localization and a more uniform chromosomal distribution of Ll.LtrB-insertion sites, proving that the location of the LtrA protein contributes to insertion-site preference. Surprisingly, we find that LtrA localization in the disruptants is affected by the accumulation of intracellular polyphosphate, which appears to bind basic proteins and delocalize them away from the cellular poles. Thus, polyphosphate, a ubiquitous but enigmatic molecule in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, can localize proteins to different sites of action, with potentially wide physiological consequences.
A novel cell microarray method uncovers connections between group II intron mobility, cell stress, and polyphosphate metabolism, including the finding that polyphosphate can influence intracellular protein localization.
The human protein interaction network will offer global insights into the molecular organization of cells and provide a framework for modeling human disease, but the network's large scale demands new approaches. We report a set of 7000 physical associations among human proteins inferred from indirect evidence: the comparison of human mRNA co-expression patterns with those of orthologous genes in five other eukaryotes, which we demonstrate identifies proteins in the same physical complexes. To evaluate the accuracy of the predicted physical associations, we apply quantitative mass spectrometry shotgun proteomics to measure elution profiles of 3013 human proteins during native biochemical fractionation, demonstrating systematically that putative interaction partners tend to co-sediment. We further validate uncharacterized proteins implicated by the associations in ribosome biogenesis, including WBSCR20C, associated with Williams–Beuren syndrome. This meta-analysis therefore exploits non-protein-based data, but successfully predicts associations, including 5589 novel human physical protein associations, with measured accuracies of 54±10%, comparable to direct large-scale interaction assays. The new associations' derivation from conserved in vivo phenomena argues strongly for their biological relevance.
interactions; mass spectrometry; networks; proteomics; systems biology
Loss-of-function phenotypes of yeast genes can be predicted from the loss-of-function phenotypes of their neighbours in functional gene networks. This could potentially be applied to the prediction of human disease genes.
We demonstrate that loss-of-function yeast phenotypes are predictable by guilt-by-association in functional gene networks. Testing 1,102 loss-of-function phenotypes from genome-wide assays of yeast reveals predictability of diverse phenotypes, spanning cellular morphology, growth, metabolism, and quantitative cell shape features. We apply the method to extend a genome-wide screen by predicting, then verifying, genes whose disruption elongates yeast cells, and to predict human disease genes. To facilitate network-guided screens, a web server is available .
Probabilistic functional gene networks are powerful theoretical frameworks for integrating heterogeneous functional genomics and proteomics data into objective models of cellular systems. Such networks provide syntheses of millions of discrete experimental observations, spanning DNA microarray experiments, physical protein interactions, genetic interactions, and comparative genomics; the resulting networks can then be easily applied to generate testable hypotheses regarding specific gene functions and associations.
We report a significantly improved version (v. 2) of a probabilistic functional gene network  of the baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We describe our optimization methods and illustrate their effects in three major areas: the reduction of functional bias in network training reference sets, the application of a probabilistic model for calculating confidences in pair-wise protein physical or genetic interactions, and the introduction of simple thresholds that eliminate many false positive mRNA co-expression relationships. Using the network, we predict and experimentally verify the function of the yeast RNA binding protein Puf6 in 60S ribosomal subunit biogenesis.
YeastNet v. 2, constructed using these optimizations together with additional data, shows significant reduction in bias and improvements in precision and recall, in total covering 102,803 linkages among 5,483 yeast proteins (95% of the validated proteome). YeastNet is available from http://www.yeastnet.org.
Cell lines have been used to study cancer for decades, but truly quantitative assessment of their performance as models is often lacking. We used gene expression profiling to quantitatively assess the gene expression of nine cell line models of cervical cancer.
We find a wide variation in the extent to which different cell culture models mimic late-stage invasive cervical cancer biopsies. The lowest agreement was from monolayer HeLa cells, a common cervical cancer model; the highest agreement was from primary epithelial cells, C4-I, and C4-II cell lines. In addition, HeLa and SiHa cell lines cultured in an organotypic environment increased their correlation to cervical cancer significantly. We also find wide variation in agreement when we considered how well individual biological pathways model cervical cancer. Cell lines with an anti-correlation to cervical cancer were also identified and should be avoided.
Using gene expression profiling and quantitative analysis, we have characterized nine cell lines with respect to how well they serve as models of cervical cancer. Applying this method to individual pathways, we identified the appropriateness of particular cell lines for studying specific pathways in cervical cancer. This study will allow researchers to choose a cell line with the highest correlation to cervical cancer at a pathway level. This method is applicable to other cancers and could be used to identify the appropriate cell line and growth condition to employ when studying other cancers.
How can protein-interaction networks can be made more complete?
We estimate the full yeast protein-protein interaction network to contain 37,800-75,500 interactions and the human network 154,000-369,000, but owing to a high false-positive rate, current maps are roughly only 50% and 10% complete, respectively. Paradoxically, releasing raw, unfiltered assay data might help separate true from false interactions.
In order to consolidate the known human proteins interactions two tests were developed to measure the relative accuracy of the available interaction data. In addition, 6,580 interactions among 3,737 human proteins were recovered from Medline abstracts and combined with existing interaction data to obtain a network of 31,609 interactions among 7,748 human proteins, accurate to the same degree as the existing data sets.
Extensive protein interaction maps are being constructed for yeast, worm, and fly to ask how the proteins organize into pathways and systems, but no such genome-wide interaction map yet exists for the set of human proteins. To prepare for studies in humans, we wished to establish tests for the accuracy of future interaction assays and to consolidate the known interactions among human proteins.
We established two tests of the accuracy of human protein interaction datasets and measured the relative accuracy of the available data. We then developed and applied natural language processing and literature-mining algorithms to recover from Medline abstracts 6,580 interactions among 3,737 human proteins. A three-part algorithm was used: first, human protein names were identified in Medline abstracts using a discriminator based on conditional random fields, then interactions were identified by the co-occurrence of protein names across the set of Medline abstracts, filtering the interactions with a Bayesian classifier to enrich for legitimate physical interactions. These mined interactions were combined with existing interaction data to obtain a network of 31,609 interactions among 7,748 human proteins, accurate to the same degree as the existing datasets.
These interactions and the accuracy benchmarks will aid interpretation of current functional genomics data and provide a basis for determining the quality of future large-scale human protein interaction assays. Projecting from the approximately 15 interactions per protein in the best-sampled interaction set to the estimated 25,000 human genes implies more than 375,000 interactions in the complete human protein interaction network. This set therefore represents no more than 10% of the complete network.
A report on the Keystone Symposium 'Proteomics: Technologies and Applications', Keystone, USA, 25-30 March 2003.
A report on the Keystone Symposium 'Proteomics: Technologies and Applications', Keystone, USA, 25-30 March 2003.
The Database of Interacting Proteins (DIP; http://dip.doe-mbi.ucla.edu)
is a database that documents experimentally determined protein–protein
interactions. Since January 2000 the number of protein–protein interactions
in DIP has nearly tripled to 3472 and the number of proteins to
2659. New interactive tools have been developed to aid in the visualization,
navigation and study of networks of protein interactions.
U/G and T/G mismatches commonly occur due to spontaneous deamination of cytosine and 5-methylcytosine in double-stranded DNA. This mutagenic effect is particularly strong for extreme thermophiles, since the spontaneous deamination reaction is much enhanced at high temperature. Previously, a U/G and T/G mismatch-specific glycosylase (Mth-MIG) was found on a cryptic plasmid of the archaeon Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, a thermophile with an optimal growth temperature of 65°C. We report characterization of a putative DNA glycosylase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrobaculum aerophilum, whose optimal growth temperature is 100°C. The open reading frame was first identified through a genome sequencing project in our laboratory. The predicted product of 230 amino acids shares significant sequence homology to [4Fe-4S]-containing Nth/MutY DNA glycosylases. The histidine-tagged recombinant protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. It is thermostable and displays DNA glycosylase activities specific to U/G and T/G mismatches with an uncoupled AP lyase activity. It also processes U/7,8-dihydro-oxoguanine and T/7,8-dihydro-oxoguanine mismatches. We designate it Pa-MIG. Using sequence comparisons among complete bacterial and archaeal genomes, we have uncovered a putative MIG protein from another hyperthermophilic archaeon, Aeropyrum pernix. The unique conserved amino acid motifs of MIG proteins are proposed to distinguish MIG proteins from the closely related Nth/MutY DNA glycosylases.
The Database of Interacting Proteins (DIP; http://dip.doe-mbi.ucla.edu ) is a database that documents experimentally determined protein–protein interactions. This database is intended to provide the scientific community with a comprehensive and integrated tool for browsing and efficiently extracting information about protein interactions and interaction networks in biological processes. Beyond cataloging details of protein–protein interactions, the DIP is useful for understanding protein function and protein–protein relationships, studying the properties of networks of interacting proteins, benchmarking predictions of protein–protein interactions, and studying the evolution of protein–protein interactions.
Analysis of a genetic module repurposed between yeast and vertebrates reveals that a common antifungal medication is also a potent vascular disrupting agent.
Studies in diverse organisms have revealed a surprising depth to the evolutionary conservation of genetic modules. For example, a systematic analysis of such conserved modules has recently shown that genes in yeast that maintain cell walls have been repurposed in vertebrates to regulate vein and artery growth. We reasoned that by analyzing this particular module, we might identify small molecules targeting the yeast pathway that also act as angiogenesis inhibitors suitable for chemotherapy. This insight led to the finding that thiabendazole, an orally available antifungal drug in clinical use for 40 years, also potently inhibits angiogenesis in animal models and in human cells. Moreover, in vivo time-lapse imaging revealed that thiabendazole reversibly disassembles newly established blood vessels, marking it as vascular disrupting agent (VDA) and thus as a potential complementary therapeutic for use in combination with current anti-angiogenic therapies. Importantly, we also show that thiabendazole slows tumor growth and decreases vascular density in preclinical fibrosarcoma xenografts. Thus, an exploration of the evolutionary repurposing of gene networks has led directly to the identification of a potential new therapeutic application for an inexpensive drug that is already approved for clinical use in humans.
Yeast cells and vertebrate blood vessels would not seem to have much in common. However, we have discovered that during the course of evolution, a group of proteins whose function in yeast is to maintain cell walls has found an alternative use in vertebrates regulating angiogenesis. This remarkable repurposing of the proteins during evolution led us to hypothesize that, despite the different functions of the proteins in humans compared to yeast, drugs that modulated the yeast pathway might also modulate angiogenesis in humans and in animal models. One compound seemed a particularly promising candidate for this sort of approach: thiabendazole (TBZ), which has been in clinical use as a systemic antifungal and deworming treatment for 40 years. Gratifyingly, our study shows that TBZ is indeed able to act as a vascular disrupting agent and an angiogenesis inhibitor. Notably, TBZ also slowed tumor growth and decreased vascular density in human tumors grafted into mice. TBZ’s historical safety data and low cost make it an outstanding candidate for translation to clinical use as a complement to current anti-angiogenic strategies for the treatment of cancer. Our work demonstrates how model organisms from distant branches of the evolutionary tree can be exploited to arrive at a promising new drug.
Gene networks are an efficient route for associating candidate genes with biological processes. Here, networks are used to discover more than 15 new genes for ribosomal subunit maturation, rRNA processing, and ribosomal export from the nucleus.
Biogenesis of ribosomes is an essential cellular process conserved across all eukaryotes and is known to require >170 genes for the assembly, modification, and trafficking of ribosome components through multiple cellular compartments. Despite intensive study, this pathway likely involves many additional genes. Here, we employ network-guided genetics—an approach for associating candidate genes with biological processes that capitalizes on recent advances in functional genomic and proteomic studies—to computationally identify additional ribosomal biogenesis genes. We experimentally evaluated >100 candidate yeast genes in a battery of assays, confirming involvement of at least 15 new genes, including previously uncharacterized genes (YDL063C, YIL091C, YOR287C, YOR006C/TSR3, YOL022C/TSR4). We associate the new genes with specific aspects of ribosomal subunit maturation, ribosomal particle association, and ribosomal subunit nuclear export, and we identify genes specifically required for the processing of 5S, 7S, 20S, 27S, and 35S rRNAs. These results reveal new connections between ribosome biogenesis and mRNA splicing and add >10% new genes—most with human orthologs—to the biogenesis pathway, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
Ribosomes are the extremely complex cellular machines responsible for constructing new proteins. In eukaryotic cells, such as yeast, each ribosome contains more than 80 protein or RNA components. These complex machines must themselves be assembled by an even more complex machinery spanning multiple cellular compartments and involving perhaps 200 components in an ordered series of processing events, resulting in delivery of the two halves of the mature ribosome, the 40S and 60S components, to the cytoplasm. The ribosome biogenesis machinery has been only partially characterized, and many lines of evidence suggest that there are additional components that are still unknown. We employed an emerging computational technique called network-guided genetics to identify new candidate genes for this pathway. We then tested the candidates in a battery of experimental assays to determine what roles the genes might play in the biogenesis of ribosomes. This approach proved an efficient route to the discovery of new genes involved in ribosome biogenesis, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
Several years after sequencing the human genome and the mouse genome, much remains to be discovered about the functions of most human and mouse genes. Computational prediction of gene function promises to help focus limited experimental resources on the most likely hypotheses. Several algorithms using diverse genomic data have been applied to this task in model organisms; however, the performance of such approaches in mammals has not yet been evaluated.
In this study, a standardized collection of mouse functional genomic data was assembled; nine bioinformatics teams used this data set to independently train classifiers and generate predictions of function, as defined by Gene Ontology (GO) terms, for 21,603 mouse genes; and the best performing submissions were combined in a single set of predictions. We identified strengths and weaknesses of current functional genomic data sets and compared the performance of function prediction algorithms. This analysis inferred functions for 76% of mouse genes, including 5,000 currently uncharacterized genes. At a recall rate of 20%, a unified set of predictions averaged 41% precision, with 26% of GO terms achieving a precision better than 90%.
We performed a systematic evaluation of diverse, independently developed computational approaches for predicting gene function from heterogeneous data sources in mammals. The results show that currently available data for mammals allows predictions with both breadth and accuracy. Importantly, many highly novel predictions emerge for the 38% of mouse genes that remain uncharacterized.