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1.  Network medicine analysis of COPD multimorbidities 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):111.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often suffer concomitant disorders that worsen significantly their health status and vital prognosis. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying COPD multimorbidities are not completely understood, thus the exploration of potential molecular and biological linkages between COPD and their associated diseases is of great interest.
We developed a novel, unbiased, integrative network medicine approach for the analysis of the diseasome, interactome, the biological pathways and tobacco smoke exposome, which has been applied to the study of 16 prevalent COPD multimorbidities identified by clinical experts.
Our analyses indicate that all COPD multimorbidities studied here are related at the molecular and biological level, sharing genes, proteins and biological pathways. By inspecting the connections of COPD with their associated diseases in more detail, we identified known biological pathways involved in COPD, such as inflammation, endothelial dysfunction or apoptosis, serving as a proof of concept of the methodology. More interestingly, we found previously overlooked biological pathways that might contribute to explain COPD multimorbidities, such as hemostasis in COPD multimorbidities other than cardiovascular disorders, and cell cycle pathway in the association of COPD with depression. Moreover, we also observed similarities between COPD multimorbidities at the pathway level, suggesting common biological mechanisms for different COPD multimorbidities. Finally, chemicals contained in the tobacco smoke target an average of 69% of the identified proteins participating in COPD multimorbidities.
The network medicine approach presented here allowed the identification of plausible molecular links between COPD and comorbid diseases, and showed that many of them are targets of the tobacco exposome, proposing new areas of research for understanding the molecular underpinning of COPD multimorbidities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0111-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177421  PMID: 25248857
Diseasome; Systems biology; Network medicine; Comorbidity; Multimorbidity; COPD; Tobacco chemicals
2.  Computer applications for prediction of protein–protein interactions and rational drug design 
In recent years, protein–protein interactions are becoming the object of increasing attention in many different fields, such as structural biology, molecular biology, systems biology, and drug discovery. From a structural biology perspective, it would be desirable to integrate current efforts into the structural proteomics programs. Given that experimental determination of many protein–protein complex structures is highly challenging, and in the context of current high-performance computational capabilities, different computer tools are being developed to help in this task. Among them, computational docking aims to predict the structure of a protein–protein complex starting from the atomic coordinates of its individual components, and in recent years, a growing number of docking approaches are being reported with increased predictive capabilities. The improvement of speed and accuracy of these docking methods, together with the modeling of the interaction networks that regulate the most critical processes in a living organism, will be essential for computational proteomics. The ultimate goal is the rational design of drugs capable of specifically inhibiting or modifying protein–protein interactions of therapeutic significance. While rational design of protein–protein interaction inhibitors is at its very early stage, the first results are promising.
PMCID: PMC3169948  PMID: 21918619
protein-protein interactions; drug design; protein docking; structural prediction; virtual ligand screening; hot-spots
3.  Identification of hot-spot residues in protein-protein interactions by computational docking 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:447.
The study of protein-protein interactions is becoming increasingly important for biotechnological and therapeutic reasons. We can define two major areas therein: the structural prediction of protein-protein binding mode, and the identification of the relevant residues for the interaction (so called 'hot-spots'). These hot-spot residues have high interest since they are considered one of the possible ways of disrupting a protein-protein interaction. Unfortunately, large-scale experimental measurement of residue contribution to the binding energy, based on alanine-scanning experiments, is costly and thus data is fairly limited. Recent computational approaches for hot-spot prediction have been reported, but they usually require the structure of the complex.
We have applied here normalized interface propensity (NIP) values derived from rigid-body docking with electrostatics and desolvation scoring for the prediction of interaction hot-spots. This parameter identifies hot-spot residues on interacting proteins with predictive rates that are comparable to other existing methods (up to 80% positive predictive value), and the advantage of not requiring any prior structural knowledge of the complex.
The NIP values derived from rigid-body docking can reliably identify a number of hot-spot residues whose contribution to the interaction arises from electrostatics and desolvation effects. Our method can propose residues to guide experiments in complexes of biological or therapeutic interest, even in cases with no available 3D structure of the complex.
PMCID: PMC2579439  PMID: 18939967

Results 1-3 (3)