The importance of molecular interactions

Molecular interactions are important to molecular biologists because:

1. They help us to understand a protein's function and behaviour (Figure 2).

2. They can help us to predict the biological processes that a protein of unknown function is involved in:

  • We may assume “Guilt by association” if a protein of unknown function associates with one of known function
  • Proteins involved in the same process should cluster together in network maps
3. They can help us to characterise protein complexes and pathways; interaction networks can be used as a draft 'map' to add detail to biological processes and pathways.

 Proteins can have multiple functions and cellular roles

Figure 2. Contrary to the original belief that one protein had a single function, proteins have different functions and cellular roles depending on their immediate environment, which has an impact on their position in protein networks.