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Assigning functions to novel proteins is one of the most important problems in the post-genomic era. We develop a novel approach that applies the theory of Markov random fields to infer a protein's functions using protein-protein interaction data and the functional annotations of its interaction protein partners. For each function of interest and a protein, we predict the probability that the protein has that function using Bayesian approaches. Unlike in other available approaches for protein annotation where a protein has or does not have a function of interest, we give a probability for having the function. This probability indicates how confident we are about the prediction. We apply our method to predict cellular functions (43 categories including a category "others") for yeast proteins defined in the Yeast Proteome Database, using the protein-protein interaction data from the Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences. We show that our approach outperforms other available methods for function prediction based on protein interaction data.
Date of Conference: 2002