Cosbi Lab


Welcome to the website of the COSBI (Computational Systems Biology) group. Our research focuses on systems biology in the broad field of computational biology. Mainly, we try to understand the principles of how proteome works.

What COSBI does:
a)      Develop computational methods and approaches for large scale structural modeling of protein-protein interactions
b)      Develop methods to find critical residues (energy hotspots) at the protein-protein interfaces
c)      Integrate 3D structural data of protein-protein complexes in signaling pathways that play important roles in cancer and other dieseases
d)      We use a powerful protein–protein interactions prediction tool (PRISM) which is able to carry out accurate predictions on the proteome scale to construct the structural networks of signaling pathways
e)      Provide maintain databases and computational services of the methods developed in the group to the community.


Prediction of protein-protein interactions at the structural level on the proteome scale is important because it allows prediction of protein function, helps drug discovery and takes steps toward genome-wide structural systems biology. We provide a protocol (termed PRISM, protein interactions by structural matching) for large-scale prediction of protein-protein interactions and assembly of protein complex structures. The method consists of two components: rigid-body structural comparisons of target proteins to known template protein-protein interfaces and flexible refinement using a docking energy function. The PRISM rationale follows our observation that globally different protein structures can interact via similar architectural motifs. PRISM predicts binding residues by using structural similarity and evolutionary conservation of putative binding residue 'hot spots'. Ultimately, PRISM could help to construct cellular pathways and functional, proteome-scale annotation. PRISM is implemented in Python and runs in a UNIX environment. The program accepts Protein Data Bank formatted protein structures.


Improvements in experimental techniques increasingly provide structural data relating to protein protein interactions. Classification of structural details of protein-protein interactions can provide valuable insights for modeling and abstracting design principles. Here, we aim to cluster proteinprotein interactions by their interface structures, and to exploit these clusters to obtain and study shared and distinct protein binding sites. We find that there are 22604 unique interface structures in the PDB. These unique interfaces, which provide a rich resource of structural data of proteinprotein interactions, can be used for template-based docking. We test the specificity of these nonredundant unique interface structures by finding protein pairs which have multiple binding sites. We suggest that residues with more than 40% relative accessible surface area should be considered as surface residues in template-based docking studies. This comprehensive study of protein interface structures can serve as a resource for the community.


Hot spots are energetically important residues at protein interfaces and they are not randomly distributed across the interface but rather clustered. These clustered hot spots form hot regions. Hot regions are important for the stability of protein complexes, as well as providing specificity to binding sites. We propose a database called HotRegion, which provides the hot region information of the interfaces by using predicted hot spot residues, and structural properties of these interface residues such as pair potentials of interface residues, accessible surface area (ASA) and relative ASA values of interface residues of both monomer and complex forms of proteins. Also, the 3D visualization of the interface and interactions among hot spot residues are provided.


The energy distribution along the protein-protein interface is not homogenous; certain residues contribute more to the binding free energy, called 'hot spots'. Here, we present a web server, HotPoint, which predicts hot spots in protein interfaces using an empirical model. The empirical model incorporates a few simple rules consisting of occlusion from solvent and total knowledge-based pair potentials of residues. The prediction model is computationally efficient and achieves high accuracy of 70%. The input to the HotPoint server is a protein complex and two chain identifiers that form an interface. The server provides the hot spot prediction results, a table of residue properties and an interactive 3D visualization of the complex with hot spots highlighted. Results are also downloadable as text files. This web server can be used for analysis of any protein-protein interface which can be utilized by researchers working on binding sites characterization and rational design of small molecules for protein interactions.


We present a new database of computational hot spots in protein interfaces: HotSprint. Hot spots are residues comprising only a small fraction of interfaces yet accounting for the majority of the binding energy. HotSprint contains data for 35 776 protein interfaces among 49 512 protein interfaces extracted from the multi-chain structures in Protein Data Bank (PDB) as of February 2006. The conserved residues in interfaces with certain buried accessible solvent area (ASA) and complex ASA thresholds are flagged as computational hot spots. The predicted hot spots are observed to correlate with the experimental hot spots with an accuracy of 76%. Several machine-learning methods (SVM, Decision Trees and Decision Lists) are also applied to predict hot spots, results reveal that our empirical approach performs better than the others. A web interface for the HotSprint database allows users to browse and query the hot spots in protein interfaces.


The diverse range of cellular functions is performed by a limited number of protein folds existing in nature. One may similarly expect that cellular functional diversity would be covered by a limited number of protein-protein interface architectures. Here, we present 8205 interface clusters, each representing a unique interface architecture. This data set of protein-protein interfaces is analyzed and compared with older data sets. We observe that the number of both biological and crystal interfaces increases significantly compared to the number of Protein Data Bank entries. Furthermore, we find that the number of distinct interface architectures grows at a much faster rate than the number of folds and is yet to level off. We further analyze the growth trend of the functional coverage by constructing functional interaction networks from interfaces. The functional coverage is also found to steadily increase. Interestingly, we also observe that despite the diversity of interface architectures, some are more favorable and frequently used, and of particular interest, are the ones that are also preferred in single chains.
Last update: 2014-02-03 17:45:56


Last update: 2014-02-04 12:26:51



Principal Investigators


Attila Gursoy, Ph.D.

Koc University
Department of Computer Engineering
Phone: +90 212 3381720


Ozlem Keskin, Ph.D.

Koc University
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Phone: +90 212 3381538


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Cosbi Lab: Computational Systems Biology @Koc University
For any problems or comments please send e-mail to Engin Cukuroglu
Developed by Engin Cukuroglu Engin Cukuroglu