10.1371/journal.pone.0005364

Fault tolerance in protein interaction networks: Stable bipartite subgraphs and redundant pathways

Abstract

As increasing amounts of high-throughput data for the yeast interactome become available, more system-wide properties are uncovered. One interesting question concerns the fault tolerance of protein interaction networks: whether there exist alternative pathways that can perform some required function if a gene essential to the main mechanism is defective, absent or suppressed. A signature pattern for redundant pathways is the BPM (between-pathway model) motif, introduced by Kelley and Ideker. Past methods proposed to search the yeast interactome for BPM motifs have had several important limitations. First, they have been driven heuristically by local greedy searches, which can lead to the inclusion of extra genes that may not belong in the motif; second, they have been validated solely by functional coherence of the putative pathways using GO enrichment, making it difficult to evaluate putative BPMs in the absence of already known biological annotation. We introduce stable bipartite subgraphs, and show they form a clean and efficient way of generating meaningful BPMs which naturally discard extra genes included by local greedy methods. We show by GO enrichment measures that our BPM set outperforms previous work, covering more known complexes and functional pathways. Perhaps most importantly, since our BPMs are initially generated by examining the genetic-interaction network only, the location of edges in the proteinprotein physical interaction network can then be used to statistically validate each candidate BPM, even with sparse GO annotation (or none at all). We uncover some interesting biological examples of previously unknown putative redundan

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