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What is this view?

Binary interactions

In this tab, we display the list of interactions that you have selected using one of our search features. Despite the fact that our data are annotated to accurately reflect the interactions reported in scientific literature, the data is shown in this view as binary interactions. Whenever the data was reported as a co-complex involving more than two molecules, we store it as such in the IntAct database and post-process it so the portal can show it as binary interaction. This post-processing is the Spoke Expansion model (connects bait to all preys):


At any moment you can choose to display the expansion column in this view in order to see which interaction are spoke expanded and which are not.

Description of what has changed

  • We have added more download options to allow users to retrieve their interaction set using more standard formats such as PSI-MI XML and PSIMITAB (version 2.5, 2.6 or 2.7) but also XGMML, RDF and Biopax (level 2 and 3).
  • We have now four different table views : minimal(molecule names and interaction AC), basic (minimal + molecule links, interaction detection method, negative), standard(minimal + molecule species, confidences, publication details, experiment details), expanded (standard + more experiment details) and complete (all mitab 2.7 columns).

Configuring the view to your need"

In the header of the interaction table you will find a button: ‘Change Column Display’ that will show you all the columns/Table views available and allow you to update the current selected set.

Downloading the data into Standard formats"

In the header of the interaction table you will find a drop down list that contains all the formats currently supported when downloading the interaction data. Select one of them and click the export button next to the list. Please note that PSI-MI XML is only available when the interaction set is no bigger than 1000 interactions.

Opening the interaction details"

Clicking on the magnifying glass in the first column of the interaction table will open the details of the corresponding interaction in the Interaction Details tab, giving you access to more details of the manually curated record.

What is this view?

Browsing (Browse Tab)

This tab is meant to give you access to more content based on the currently selected set of interactions. Please note that linking to third party resources will only include up to 200 molecules , if you exceed this number you will see the warning icon (This number has been reduced to 125 molecules for mRNA expression). Now let’s look at the features available to you:

Limiting the scope of the current dataset with the Uniprot Taxonomy ontology

Allows users to browse the Uniprot Taxonomy hierarchy as a tree and select terms in order to narrow down their dataset. Once a term is selected, you are taken back to the interaction tab to review your dataset.

Limiting the scope of the current dataset with the GO ontology

Allows users to browse the GO hierarchy as a tree and select terms in order to narrow down their dataset. Once a term is selected, you are taken back to the interaction tab to review your dataset.

Limiting the scope of the current dataset with the ChEBI ontology

Allows users to browse the ChEBI hierarchy as a tree and select terms in order to narrow down their dataset. Once a term is selected, you are taken back to the interaction tab to review your dataset.

Bulk linking to third party resources by using involved proteins

  • Proteins by Reactome pathway: Sends your proteins to the Reactome SkyPainter that will show you the pathways in which these molecules are know to play a role.
  • Proteins by Chromosomal location: Sends your list of proteins to Ensembl’s Karyotype viewer and overlays the proteins on the chromosomes.
  • Proteins by mRNA expression: Sends your set of proteins to the ArrayExpress Atlas that will show the known gene expression based on experimental studies.
What is this view?

Searching Interactions (Search Tab)

As you can see in this tab we are now trying to give you more targeted choice to do your queries, please note that the examples provided in this tab are live links so you can simply click them to see the resulting interactions sets.

Using the Quick Search

In this search panel you are free to type anything that might relate to interactions, whether it is properties of their interactor (gene name, identifiers, GO term…) or more specific to the interaction like publication, authors, experimental detection method, ...

Some examples:

  • Try the query: imatinib
    This is a drug for which we have curated a number of interactions.
    Once you press the search button you should be taken to the Interaction Tab that lists 130 binary interactions.
    If you want to construct more complex queries we recommend you take a look at the Molecular Interaction Query Language, accessible from the quick search panel.
  • Try the query: species:yeast AND type:"direct interaction"
    This query selects all interactions involving yeast interactors that have been shown to have direct interactions. If you customize the column display of the interaction tab, you will see that not only “direct interaction” have been selected but also children terms in the PSI-MI ontology.

Using the Ontology Search

Open the Rearch Tab. This panel is specialised to give you an easy access to ontology search. So far you can search on 4 ontologies:

  • Gene Ontology
  • InterPro
  • PSI-MI
  • ChEBI

Whenever you start typing a query in this search panel, the system will search as you type and propose a list of matching controlled vocabulary terms. You can then select one of them and select matching interactions.

For example, type: cancer
You will be presented with a few choices, please note that each term is followed by the count of matching interactions in the IntAct database.

Select a term with the mouse or using the keyboard cursor keys and you will be taken to the interaction tab.

Searching the Compound chemical structure

In this panel you will be able to draw all or part of a chemical structure and search for chemical compounds. If you get any matched, you can then see all interactions involving them.

First you have to open up the chemical search panel so that the applet can load, it might take a few seconds. Then you can start drawing your structure, for instance:

Once you have drawn your structure, select Similarity and press Search. You should be presented with a list of matching compound. Now choose one molecule and click the link: IntAct interactions. You will be taken to the interaction tab to review the data.

Complex Expansion

Binary interactions generated by co-complex expansion

Why should you care about complex expansion ?

Some experimental methods such as Tandem Affinity Purification do generate molecular interactions that can involve more than 2 molecules. Despite the fact that IntAct curation team do capture the molecular interaction as they were reported in the corresponding experiment, when you search using the intact web site, the results of your query is always shown as set of binary interactions (i.e. 2 molecules). We would like to draw your attention on the fact that whenever the reported interaction was a co-complex we do apply an expansion algorithm that transform this n-ary interaction into a set of binary interactions. While none of these agorithms is perfect and will very likely generate some false positive interactions, it is useful to present the data in a consistent manner. Bear in mind that we will strive to differentiate in the search results which interactions are a real experimental binary from expanded ones.

Existing expansion algorithm

There are several known algorithm allowing to transform an n-ary interaction into a set of binaries. The illustration below present the two well known expansion model and illustrates why they can be incorrect.


  • Spoke expansion: Links the bait molecule to all prey molecules. If N is the count of molecule in the complex, it generated N-1 binary interactions.
  • Matrix expansion: Links all molecule to all other molecule present in the complex. If N is the count of molecule in the complex, it generated (N*(N-1))/2 binary interactions.

Now the issue (as illustrated at the bottom right of the diagram above) with these two models lies in the fact that the real complex might not be articulated around the experimental bait but instead, this bait might be linked to a smaller complex, hence most binary interaction generated by spoke and matrix expansion result in false positive.


How is the number of interactions in other databases obtained?

PSICQUIC is a standard way to access molecular interaction databases across which it repeats the same query. The number of databases providing data may vary, depending on the status of their services and only those that are active are used in this query. By clicking on the number of interactions you will be redirected to the PSICQUIC View, where you can browse the results in those other resources.

The services currently active are:

Check the PSICQUIC site for more information.


What is the significance of the IMEx dataset?"

IMEx is a network of databases which have agreed to supply a non-redundant set of data expertly manually annotated to the same consistent detailed standard which, as such, represents a high-quality subset of the data each individually provides. The number of databases providing data may vary, depending on the status of their services and only those that are active are used in this query. By clicking on the number of interactions you will be redirected to the IMEx View, where you can browse the results in those other resources.

The services currently active are:

Check the IMEx site for more information.

What is this view?

Representation of Experimental Features

This section shows the graphical representation of experimental features, where each participant is represented as a white rectangle with a black border and a line for each hundredth amino acid. All available features are attached to their associated participant and their categories are represented in the right side of the legend. The left side of the legend dynamically shows the range statuses occuring in the shown interaction. These are the possible range statuses:


Interacting with the widget

Hover over a feature to see more information in a tooltip.

To display a single interacting region click on it and click again to display all interacting regions.
Displaying all interacting regionsDisplaying one interacting region
What is this view?

Dynamic molecular interaction data

This section shows the graphical representation of dynamic molecular interactions. By default it displays all the interactions from one experiment using radio buttons to allow users to highlight interactions in different variable conditions.

IntAct Molecular Interaction Database

IntAct provides a freely available, open source database system and analysis tools for molecular interaction data. All interactions are derived from literature curation or direct user submissions and are freely available. To perform a search in the IntAct database use the search box above.

MIQL Syntax Reference

Help: Searches in IntAct

To do a search you can use the Molecular Interaction Query Language (MIQL), which is based on Lucene's syntax.
  • Search based on exact word matches.
    • BRCA2 will not match BRCA2B
    • Association will retrieve both physical association and association
    • To retrieve all isoforms of P12345, use P12345*
  • Search will recognize ontologies and synonyms.
    • Eukaryota will retrieve all children of Eukaryota using the Uniprot taxonomy
    • affinity techniques will match affinity technology because it is affinity techniques is a synonym of affinity technology in the PSI-MI ontology
  • Default fields are used when no field is specified (simple search) :
    • Interactor id, alias
    • Interactor species
    • Interaction id
    • Publication id, first author
    • Interaction type
    • Interaction detection method
    • Interactor xrefs (GO, uniprot secondary xrefs, ...)
    • Interaction xrefs (GO, ...)
    For instance, if you put 'P12345' in the simple query box, this will mean the same as identifier:P12345 OR pubid:P12345 OR pubauth:P12345 OR species:P12345 OR type:P12345 OR detmethod:P12345 OR interaction_id:P12345
  • Use OR or space ' ' to search for ANY of the terms in a field
  • Use AND if you want to search for those interactions where ALL of your terms are found
  • Use quotes (") if you look for a specific phrase (group of terms that must be searched together) or terms containing special characters that may otherwise be interpreted by our query engine (eg. ':' in a GO term)
  • Use parenthesis for complex queries (e.g. '(XXX OR YYY) AND ZZZ')
  • Wildcards (*,?) can be used between letters in a term or at the end of terms to do fuzzy queries,
    but never at the beginning of a term
  • Optionally, you can prepend a symbol in from of your term.
    • + (plus): include this term. Equivalent to AND. e.g. +P12345
    • - (minus): do not include this term. Equivalent to NOT. e.g. -P12345
    • Nothing in front of the term. Equivalent to OR. e.g. P12345

MIQL fields

You can find more information about the Molecular Interactions Query Language (MIQL) defined for PSICQUIC Here
Field NameSearches onExample
idAIdentifier AidA:P74565
idBIdentifier BidB:P74565
idIdentifiers (A or B)id:P74565
aliasAliases (A or B)alias:(KHDRBS1 OR HCK)
identifiersIdentifiers and Aliases undistinctivelyidentifier:P74565
pubauthPublication 1st author(s)pubauth:scott
pubidPublication Identifier(s)pubid:(10837477 OR 12029088)
taxidATax ID interactor A: be it the tax ID or the species nametaxidA:mouse
taxidBTax ID interactor B: be it the tax ID or species nametaxidB:9606
speciesSpecies. Tax ID A or Tax ID Bspecies:human
typeInteraction type(s)type:"physical interaction"
detmethodInteraction Detection method(s)detmethod:"two hybrid*"
interaction_idInteraction identifier(s)interaction_id:EBI-761050
pbioroleABiological role(s) interactor ApbioroleA:enzyme
pbioroleBBiological role(s) interactor BpbioroleB:enzyme
pbioroleBiological role(s) interactor (A or B)pbiorole:enzyme
ptypeAInteractor type AptypeA:protein
ptypeBInteractor type BptypeB:protein
ptypeInteractor type (A or B)ptype:protein
pxrefAInteractor xref ApxrefA:"GO:0005794"
pxrefBInteractor xref BpxrefB:"GO:0005794"
pxrefInteractor xref (A or B)pxref:"GO:0005794"
xrefInteraction xref(s)xref:"GO:0005634"
annotAnnotations/Tags Interactionannotation:"imex curation"
udateLast update of the interactionudate:[20110607 TO 20120906]
negativeBoolean value which is true if an interaction is negativenegative:true
complexComplex Expansion method(s)expansion:spoke
ftypeAFeature type(s) AftypeA:"binding site"
ftypeBFeature type(s) BftypeB:"binding site"
ftypeFeature type(s) (A or B)ftype:"binding site"
pmethodAParticipant identification method(s) ApmethodA:"western blot"
pmethodBParticipant identification method(s)) BpmethodB:"western blot"
pmethodParticipant identification method(s) (A or B)pmethod:"western blot"
stcBoolean value to know if Interactor A or B has stoichiometry
paramBoolean value to know if the Interaction has some parameters.param:true

IntAct fields

These field names are specific to IntAct and are not in MIQL definition for PSICQUIC.
Field NameSearches onExample
geneNameGene name for Interactor A or BgeneName:brca2
sourceSource database(s)source:mbinfo
intact-miscoreIntAct MI Score (between 0 and 1), based on number of publications, detection methods and interaction types.intact-miscore:[0.5 TO 1.0]
Search in IntAct       Show Advanced Fields »   MIQL syntax reference helpIcon
  NOT   Field:  

Search Tips

  • Free text search will look by default for interactor identifier, (e.g. gene name BRCA2 , UniProtKB Ac Q06609 or UniProtKB Id dmc1), species, interaction id, detection method, interaction type, publication identifier or author (e.g. Pubmed Id 10831611 ), interactor xrefs, interaction xrefs.
  • For a more specific search, use MIQL syntax or advanced search
  • Search based on exact word matches e.g. BRCA2 will not match BRCA2B
  • Search for isoforms of 'P12345' by using 'P12345*'


Dataset of the month: September

Identification of the Mitochondrial Heme Biosynthesis Metabolon.

  • Medlock AE et al. webappLogoPSI 2.5PSIMITAB

Go to Archive

Citing IntAct

The MIntAct project--IntAct as a common curation platform for 11 molecular interaction databases. Orchard S et al [PMID: 24234451]
Nucl. Acids Res. (2013) doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1115
[Abstract] [Full Text]

Data Content

  • Publications: 13807
  • Interactions: 531946
  • Interactors: 89310


Manually curated content is added to IntAct by curators at the EMBL-EBI and the following organisations:

Under the terms of the IMEx agreement, IntAct also incorporated and maintains the IMEx records of the now inactive MPIDB database.

IMEx member