Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Revisiting Date and Party Hubs: Novel Approaches to Role Assignment in Protein Interaction Networks"

My first paper on biological networks has just been officially published.

Title: Revisiting Date and Party Hubs: Novel Approaches to Role Assignment in Protein Interaction Networks

Authors: Sumeet Agarwal, Charlotte M. Deane, Mason A. Porter, Nick S. Jones

Abstract: The idea of ‘‘date’’ and ‘‘party’’ hubs has been influential in the study of protein–protein interaction networks. Date hubs display low co-expression with their partners, whilst party hubs have high co-expression. It was proposed that party hubs are local coordinators whereas date hubs are global connectors. Here, we show that the reported importance of date hubs
to network connectivity can in fact be attributed to a tiny subset of them. Crucially, these few, extremely central, hubs do not display particularly low expression correlation, undermining the idea of a link between this quantity and hub function. The date/party distinction was originally motivated by an approximately bimodal distribution of hub co-expression; we
show that this feature is not always robust to methodological changes. Additionally, topological properties of hubs do not in general correlate with co-expression. However, we find significant correlations between interaction centrality and the functional similarity of the interacting proteins. We suggest that thinking in terms of a date/party dichotomy for hubs in protein interaction networks is not meaningful, and it might be more useful to conceive of roles for protein-protein interactions rather than for individual proteins.

As you can see from the discussion in this paper, the idea of "date" versus "party" hubs has been controversial ever since it was introduced in 2004. We started this project as agnostics regarding whether or not such a sharp distinction exists. We used a different perspective from what was previously in the literature, and we ended up concluding after lots of work that this kind of sharp distinction does not really exist (despite claims to the contrary).

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