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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Evolvability Seminar - Assembly Rules for Protein Interaction Networks

3rd March 2011, 16:15, Whitehead Room, School of Biological Sciences, Professor Mark Pagal (University of Reading)

Protein interaction networks can be thought of as the phenotypes of sets of functionally linked genes, and sets of these networks combine to create the organismal phenotype. I describe an analysis of the eukaryotic protein network of functionally linked proteins, identified from a phylogenetic statistical analysis of complete eukaryotic genomes.

Phylogenetic methods identify pairs of proteins that co-evolve on a phylogenetic tree of the species, and have been shown to have a high probability of correctly identifying known functional links. The network we derive displays the familiar power law scaling of connectivity. Both gains of new genes into the network and losses of network genes also follow power law scaling patterns with most gained or lost genes having a small number of links. We conclude that the majority of the turnover in protein networks is among genes of low connectivity and small effect. The combination of this power law scaling with the patterns of turnover grants organisms both a surprising degree of robustness to outside influences while simultaneously allowing the organism's genome to explore new regions of the 'gene space'.

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