A Topology Potential-Based Method for Identifying Essential Proteins from PPI Networks

A Topology Potential-Based Method for Identifying Essential Proteins from PPI Networks Essential proteins are indispensable for cellular life. It is of great significance to identify essential proteins that can help us understand the minimal requirements for cellular life and is also very important for drug design. However, identification of essential proteins based on experimental approaches are typically time-consuming and expensive. With the development of high-throughput technology in the post-genomic era, more and more protein-protein interaction data can be obtained, which make it possible to study essential proteins from the network level. There have been a series of computational approaches proposed for predicting essential proteins based on network topologies. Most of these topology based essential protein discovery methods were to use network centralities. In this paper, we investigate the essential proteins’ topological characters from a completely new perspective. To our knowledge it is the first time that topology potential is used to identify essential proteins from a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. The basic idea is that each protein in the network can be viewed as a material particle which creates a potential field around itself and the interaction of all proteins forms a topological field over the network. By defining and computing the value of each protein’s topology potential, we can obtain a more precise ranking which reflects the importance of proteins from the¬†PPInetwork. The experimental results show that topology potential-based methods TP and TP-NC outperform traditional topology measures: degree centrality (DC), betweenness centrality (BC), closeness centrality (CC), subgraph centrality (SC), eigenvector centrality (EC), information centrality (IC), and network centrality (NC) for predicting essential proteins. In addition, these centrality measures are improved on their performance for identifying essential proteins in biological network when controlled by topology potential.