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This article is part of the supplement: The 2010 International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BIOCOMP 2010): Systems Biology

Open Access Research article

Exploring virus relationships based on virus-host protein-protein interaction network

Feng Xu1, Chen Zhao1, Yuhua Li2*, Jiang Li1, Youping Deng3 and Tieliu Shi1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200241, China

2 College of Life Sciences, the Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, 150040, China

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5(Suppl 3):S11  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-S3-S11

Published: 23 December 2011



Currently, several systems have been proposed to classify viruses and indicate the relationships between different ones, though each system has its limitations because of the complexity of viral origins and their rapid evolution rate. We hereby propose a new method to explore the relationships between different viruses.


A new method, which is based on the virus-host protein-protein interaction network, is proposed in this paper to categorize viruses. The distances between 114 human viruses, including 48 HIV-1 and HIV-2 viruses, are estimated according to the protein-protein interaction network between these viruses and humans.


The results demonstrated that our method can disclose not only relationships consistent with the taxonomic results of currently used systems of classification but also the potential relationships that the current virus classification systems have not revealed. Moreover, the method points to a new direction where the functional relationships between viruses and hosts can be used to explore the virus relationships on a systematic level.