BME PhD Dissertation Defense - Sam Pevzner

10:00 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
12:00 pm on Monday, May 13, 2013
24 Cummington St, Room 103
Committee Members:
Marc Vidal, PhD (Advisor, HMS Genetics)
James Collins, PhD (BME)
Yu Xia, PhD (BME & Bioinformatics)
Daniel Segre, PhD (BME, Bioinformatics and Biology)
James Galagan, PhD (BME & Microbiology, Chair)

"Protein interactions across and between eukaryotic kingdoms:
Networks, inference strategies, integration of functional data and evolutionary dynamics"

How cellular elements coordinate their function is a fundamental question in biology. A crucial step towards understanding cellular systems is the mapping of physical interactions between protein, DNA, RNA and other macromolecules or metabolites. Genome-scale technologies have yielded protein-protein interaction networks for several eukaryotic species and have provided insight into biological processes and evolution, but many of the currently available networks are biased. Towards a true human protein-protein interaction network, we examined literature-based aggregations of low-throughput experiments, high-throughput experimental networks validated using different strategies, and predicted interaction networks to infer how the underlying interactome may differ from current maps. Using systematically mapped interactome networks, which appear to be the least biased, we explored the functional organization of Arabidopsis thaliana and characterize the asymmetric divergence of duplicated paralogous proteins through their interaction profiles. To further dissect the relationship between interactions and function enforced by evolution, we investigated a first-of-its-kind systematic cross-species human-yeast hybrid interactome network. Although the cross-species network is topologically similar to conventional intra-species networks, we found signatures of dynamic changes in interaction propensities due to countervailing evolutionary forces. Collectively, these analyses of human, plant and yeast interactome networks bridge separate experiments to characterize bias, function and evolution across eukaryotic kingdoms.