The intricacy of the viral-human protein interaction networks: resources, data and analyses


  • Saha Deeya
  • Iannuccelli Marta
  • Brun Christine
  • Zanzoni Andreas
  • Licata Luana


  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Virus-host protein-protein interaction databases
  • Virus-human interactomes
  • Molecular interaction data standards
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Emerging viruses

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Viral infections are one of the major causes of human diseases that cause yearly millions of deaths and seriously threaten global health, as we have experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous approaches have been adopted to understand viral diseases and develop pharmacological treatments. Among them, the study of virus-host protein-protein interactions is a powerful strategy to comprehend the molecular mechanisms employed by the virus to infect the host cells and to interact with their components. Experimental protein-protein interactions described in the scientific literature have been systematically captured into several molecular interaction databases. These data are organized in structured formats and can be easily downloaded by users to perform further bioinformatic and network studies. Network analysis of available virus-host interactomes allow us to understand how the host interactome is perturbed upon viral infection and what are the key host proteins targeted by the virus and the main cellular pathways that are subverted. In this review, we give an overview of publicly available viral-human protein-protein interactions resources and the community standards, curation rules and adopted ontologies. A description of the main virus-human interactome available is provided, together with the main network analyses that have been performed. We finally discuss the main limitations and future challenges to assess the quality and reliability of protein-protein interaction datasets and resources.

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