Technological improvements in unbiased screening have accelerated drug target discovery. In particular, membrane-embedded and secreted proteins have gained attention because of their ability to orchestrate intercellular communication. Dysregulation of their extracellular protein–protein interactions (ePPIs) underlies the initiation and progression of many human diseases. Practically, ePPIs are also accessible for modulation by therapeutics since they operate outside of the plasma membrane. Therefore, it is unsurprising that while these proteins make up about 30% of human genes, they encompass the majority of drug targets approved by the FDA. Even so, most secreted and membrane proteins remain uncharacterized in terms of binding partners and cellular functions. To address this, a number of approaches have been developed to overcome challenges associated with membrane protein biology and ePPI discovery. This chapter will cover recent advances that use high-throughput methods to move towards the generation of a comprehensive network of ePPIs in humans for future targeted drug discovery.
Part of the book: High-Throughput Screening for Drug Discovery