Chapter 4: Protein Interactions and Disease
Proteins do not function in isolation; it is their interactions with one another and also with other molecules (e.g. DNA, RNA) that mediate metabolic and signaling pathways, cellular processes, and organismal systems. Due to their central role in biological function, protein interactions also control the mechanisms leading to healthy and diseased states in organisms. Diseases are often caused by mutations affecting the binding interface or leading to biochemically dysfunctional allosteric changes in proteins. Therefore, protein interaction networks can elucidate the molecular basis of disease, which in turn can inform methods for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. In this chapter, we will describe the computational approaches to predict and map networks of protein interactions and briefly review the experimental methods to detect protein interactions. We will describe the application of protein interaction networks as a translational approach to the study of human disease and evaluate the challenges faced by these approaches.