Integrated web visualizations for protein-protein interaction databases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding living systems is crucial for curing diseases. To achieve this task we have to understand biological networks based on protein-protein interactions. Bioinformatics has come up with a great amount of databases and tools that support analysts in exploring protein-protein interactions on an integrated level for knowledge discovery. They provide predictions and correlations, indicate possibilities for future experimental research and fill the gaps to complete the picture of biochemical processes. There are numerous and huge databases of protein-protein interactions used to gain insights into answering some of the many questions of systems biology. Many computational resources integrate interaction data with additional information on molecular background. However, the vast number of diverse Bioinformatics resources poses an obstacle to the goal of understanding. We present a survey of databases that enable the visual analysis of protein networks.

We selected M =10 out of N =53 resources supporting visualization, and we tested against the following set of criteria: interoperability, data integration, quantity of possible interactions, data visualization quality and data coverage. The study reveals differences in usability, visualization features and quality as well as the quantity of interactions. StringDB is the recommended first choice. CPDB presents a comprehensive dataset and IntAct lets the user change the network layout. A comprehensive comparison table is available via web. The supplementary table can be accessed on

Only some web resources featuring graph visualization can be successfully applied to interactive visual analysis of protein-protein interaction. Study results underline the necessity for further enhancements of visualization integration in biochemical analysis tools. Identified challenges are data comprehensiveness, confidence, interactive feature and visualization maturing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number195
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Health Informatics
  • Network Visualization
  • Visual Analytics
  • Protein-Protein Interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Experimental
  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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