Open Access Open Badges Research article

Defining a Modular Signalling Network from the Fly Interactome

Anaïs Baudot13, Jean-Baptiste Angelelli2, Alain Guénoche2, Bernard Jacq1 and Christine Brun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille-Luminy (IBDML), UMR6216, CNRS/Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

2 Institut de Mathématiques de Luminy (IML), UMR6206, CNRS/Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

3 Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Structural Biology and Biocomputing, Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3 E-28029 Madrid, Spain

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BMC Systems Biology 2008, 2:45  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-2-45

Published: 19 May 2008



Signalling pathways relay information by transmitting signals from cell surface receptors to intracellular effectors that eventually activate the transcription of target genes. Since signalling pathways involve several types of molecular interactions including protein-protein interactions, we postulated that investigating their organization in the context of the global protein-protein interaction network could provide a new integrated view of signalling mechanisms.


Using a graph-theory based method to analyse the fly protein-protein interaction network, we found that each signalling pathway is organized in two to three different signalling modules. These modules contain canonical proteins of the signalling pathways, known regulators as well as other proteins thereby predicted to participate to the signalling mechanisms. Connections between the signalling modules are prominent as compared to the other network's modules and interactions within and between signalling modules are among the more central routes of the interaction network.


Altogether, these modules form an interactome sub-network devoted to signalling with particular topological properties: modularity, density and centrality. This finding reflects the integration of the signalling system into cell functioning and its important role connecting and coordinating different biological processes at the level of the interactome.