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Interactomes are genome-wide roadmaps of protein-protein interactions. They have been produced for humans, yeast, the fruit fly, and Arabidopsis thaliana and have become invaluable tools for generating and testing hypotheses. A predicted interactome for Zea mays (PiZeaM) is presented here as an aid to the research community for this valuable crop species. PiZeaM was built using a proven method of interologs (interacting orthologs) that were identified using both one-to-one and many-to-many orthology between genomes of maize and reference species. Where both maize orthologs occurred for an experimentally determined interaction in the reference species, we predicted a likely interaction in maize. A total of 49,026 unique interactions for 6004 maize proteins were predicted. These interactions are enriched for processes that are evolutionarily conserved, but include many otherwise poorly annotated proteins in maize. The predicted maize interactions were further analyzed by comparing annotation of interacting proteins, including different layers of ontology. A map of pairwise gene co-expression was also generated and compared to predicted interactions. Two global subnetworks were constructed for highly conserved interactions. These subnetworks showed clear clustering of proteins by function. Another subnetwork was created for disease response using a bait and prey strategy to capture interacting partners for proteins that respond to other organisms. Closer examination of this subnetwork revealed the connectivity between biotic and abiotic hormone stress pathways. We believe PiZeaM will provide a useful tool for the prediction of protein function and analysis of pathways for Z. mays researchers and is presented in this paper as a reference tool for the exploration of protein interactions in maize.



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