Densest subgraph-based methods for protein-protein interaction hot spot prediction

Ruiming Li*, Jung Yu Lee, Jinn Moon Yang, Tatsuya Akutsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hot spots play an important role in protein binding analysis. The residue interaction network is a key point in hot spot prediction, and several graph theory-based methods have been proposed to detect hot spots. Although the existing methods can yield some interesting residues by network analysis, low recall has limited their abilities in finding more potential hot spots. Result: In this study, we develop three graph theory-based methods to predict hot spots from only a single residue interaction network. We detect the important residues by finding subgraphs with high densities, i.e., high average degrees. Generally, a high degree implies a high binding possibility between protein chains, and thus a subgraph with high density usually relates to binding sites that have a high rate of hot spots. By evaluating the results on 67 complexes from the SKEMPI database, our methods clearly outperform existing graph theory-based methods on recall and F-score. In particular, our main method, Min-SDS, has an average recall of over 0.665 and an f2-score of over 0.364, while the recall and f2-score of the existing methods are less than 0.400 and 0.224, respectively. Conclusion: The Min-SDS method performs best among all tested methods on the hot spot prediction problem, and all three of our methods provide useful approaches for analyzing bionetworks. In addition, the densest subgraph-based methods predict hot spots with only one residue interaction network, which is constructed from spatial atomic coordinate data to mitigate the shortage of data from wet-lab experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number451
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Bioinformatics
  • Densest subgraph
  • Graph theory
  • Hot spot
  • Linear programming
  • Network analysis
  • Protein-protein interaction
  • Residue interaction


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