Uncovering disease-disease relationships through the incomplete interactome

Back to all posts


Authors: Jörg Menche, Amitabh Sharma, Maksim Kitsak, S. Dina Ghiassian, Marc Vidal, Joseph LoscalzoAlbert-László Barabási

Shared genes represent a powerful but limited representation of the mechanistic relationship between two diseases. However, the analysis of protein-protein interactions has been hampered by the incompleteness of interactome maps. Menche et al. formulated the mathematical conditions needed to allow a disease module (a localized region of connections between disease-related proteins) to be observed. Only diseases with data coverage that exceeds a specific threshold have identifiable disease modules. The network-based distance between two disease modules revealed that disease pairs that are predicted to have overlapping modules had statistically significant molecular similarity. These similarities encompassed their protein components, gene expression, symptoms, and morbidity. Molecular-level links between diseases lacking shared disease genes could also be identified.