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Biology in four dimensions
Ulrik de Lichtenberg, Lars Juhl Jensen, Soren Brunak, Peer Bork
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Technical University of Denmark
Project Description:
Most things that happen in the cell are the work of 'molecular machines' -- complexes of proteins that carry out important cellular functions. Until now, scientists didn't have a clear idea of when proteins form these machines -- are these complexes pre-fabricated or put together on the spot for each specific job? Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), working closely with scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), have now answered that question by drawing together many types of data in a fascinating new model.

"Past studies of this type have usually left out a crucial element -- time," says EMBL Group Leader Peer Bork. "But now a picture has emerged which is extremely dynamic." This graph represents a temporal protein interaction network of the yeast mitotic cell cycle. Cell cycle proteins that are part of complexes or other physical interactions are shown within the circle. For the dynamic proteins, the time of peak expression is shown by the node color; static proteins are represented by white nodes. Outside the circle, the dynamic proteins without interactions are both positioned and colored according to their peak time, and thus also serve as a legend for the color scheme in the network.

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