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Science  22 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5807, pp. 1837o
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5807.1837o

Analysis of large data sets describing protein interactions is helping to define how networks of protein interactions control cell function. Kim et al. (p. 1938; see the Perspective by Yeates and Beeby) analyze an improved data set that includes information on three-dimensional protein structure and protein domains, which allows distinctions to be made between particular interaction domains and clarifies, for example, whether interactions between two proteins containing the same domain with another protein are expected to be mutually exclusive. This analysis restricts the estimated maximal numbers of protein partners (14) compared with previous estimates. The number of interaction interfaces on a protein is a key defining factor in whether a protein is essential for cell function and for its evolutionary rate.

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