Genomic data integration systematically biases interactome mapping

by Michael A. Skinnider, R. Greg Stacey, Leonard J. Foster

Elucidating the complete network of protein-protein interactions, or interactome, is a fundamental goal of the post-genomic era, yet existing interactome maps are far from complete. To increase the throughput and resolution of interactome mapping, methods for protein-protein interaction discovery by co-migration have been introduced. However, accurate identification of interacting protein pairs within the resulting large-scale proteomic datasets is challenging. Consequently, most computational pipelines for co-migration data analysis incorporate external genomic datasets to distinguish interacting from non-interacting protein pairs. The effect of this procedure on interactome mapping is poorly understood. Here, we conduct a rigorous analysis of genomic data integration for interactome recovery across a large number of co-migration datasets, spanning diverse experimental and computational methods. We find that genomic data integration leads to an increase in the functional coherence of the resulting interactome maps, but this comes at the expense of a decrease in power to discover novel interactions. Importantly, putative novel interactions predicted by genomic data integration are no more likely to later be experimentally discovered than those predicted from co-migration data alone. Our results reveal a widespread and unappreciated limitation in a methodology that has been widely used to map the interactome of humans and model organisms.

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