The Human Interactome Unveiled…

Posted by Rudi Pillich

colored hairball depicting human protein interactions

In living organisms, genes encode proteins and proteins form complexes, resulting in an intricate network of interactions that is responsible for orchestrating all biological cellular processes.

The human genome has around 20,000 protein-coding genes and only a small fraction of these proteins has been characterized at the functional level… For this reason, a new project led by Wade Harper and Steven Gygi at the Harvard Medical School is taking on the challenge to catalog all human protein-protein interactions to generate the BioPlex Network.

The approach used involves the generation of multiple HEK293 cell lines with HA-tagged bait proteins, affinity purification, followed by mass spectrometry analysis to identify the interactors.

The first snapshot of the "human interactome" covers more or less 10% of the total human proteome and was published last July in the journal Cell. To date, the project has identified over 50,000 interactions (most previously unknown) and covered about 25% of the human proteome.

The BioPlex interaction data are deposited in the BioGRID and also available on the BioPlex website; and most importantly, BioPlex interaction data are made freely available prior to publication!

The human interactome will keep growing and provide a starting point for scientists to build upon… Look for the BioPlex network on the NDEx Public Server starting later this February!

The BioPlex project is supported by Biogen and grants from the National Institute of Health; for more info, please visit the BioPlex website.

… Stay tuned!