Research Papers:

The drug target genes show higher evolutionary conservation than non-target genes

Wenhua Lv, Yongdeng Xu, Yiying Guo, Ziqi Yu, Guanglong Feng, Panpan Liu, Meiwei Luan, Hongjie Zhu, Guiyou Liu, Mingming Zhang, Hongchao Lv, Lian Duan, Zhenwei Shang, Jin Li, Yongshuai Jiang and Ruijie Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:4961-4971. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6755

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Wenhua Lv1,*, Yongdeng Xu1,*, Yiying Guo1,*, Ziqi Yu1,*, Guanglong Feng2,*, Panpan Liu1, Meiwei Luan1, Hongjie Zhu1, Guiyou Liu3, Mingming Zhang1, Hongchao Lv1, Lian Duan1, Zhenwei Shang1, Jin Li1, Yongshuai Jiang1, Ruijie Zhang1

1College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

2Department of Radiology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

3Genome Analysis Laboratory, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianjin, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Ruijie Zhang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: drug target, evolutionary conservation, topological properties

Received: September 02, 2015     Accepted: November 26, 2015     Published: December 24, 2015


Although evidence indicates that drug target genes share some common evolutionary features, there have been few studies analyzing evolutionary features of drug targets from an overall level. Therefore, we conducted an analysis which aimed to investigate the evolutionary characteristics of drug target genes. We compared the evolutionary conservation between human drug target genes and non-target genes by combining both the evolutionary features and network topological properties in human protein-protein interaction network. The evolution rate, conservation score and the percentage of orthologous genes of 21 species were included in our study. Meanwhile, four topological features including the average shortest path length, betweenness centrality, clustering coefficient and degree were considered for comparison analysis. Then we got four results as following: compared with non-drug target genes, 1) drug target genes had lower evolutionary rates; 2) drug target genes had higher conservation scores; 3) drug target genes had higher percentages of orthologous genes and 4) drug target genes had a tighter network structure including higher degrees, betweenness centrality, clustering coefficients and lower average shortest path lengths. These results demonstrate that drug target genes are more evolutionarily conserved than non-drug target genes. We hope that our study will provide valuable information for other researchers who are interested in evolutionary conservation of drug targets.

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