Marinka Zitnik

Fusing bits and DNA

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Evolution of Molecular Networks

Our paper on evolution of resilience in protein interactomes is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Using protein-protein interaction data that have only recently become available, we composed and analyzed interactome networks from 1,840 species across the tree of life, expanding the number of species from about 5 in previous studies to 1,840. This unique dataset allowed us to conduct the largest ever study of protein interactomes and quantify the resilience of interactomes--a critical property as the breakdown of proteins may lead to cell death or disease.

Our study reveals that evolution leads to more resilient interactomes, providing evidence for a longstanding hypothesis that interactomes evolve favoring robustness against protein failures. We show that a highly resilient interactome has an astonishingly beneficial impact on the organism to survive in complex, variable, and competitive habitats, a finding that draws attention to a previously unknown critical role of evolution in mediating the effects of the interactome on the ability of a species to thrive in specific habitats.