Protein interactions are highly diverse in their biochemical nature, varying in affinity and are often dependent on the surrounding biochemical environment. Given this heterogeneity, it seems unlikely that any one method, and particularly those capable of screening for many protein interactions in parallel, will be able to detect all functionally relevant interactions that occur within a living cell. One major class of interactions that are not detected by current popular high-throughput methods are those that occur in the extracellular environment, especially those made by membrane-embedded receptor proteins. In the present article, we discuss some of our recent research in the development of a scalable assay to identify this class of protein interaction and some of the findings from its application in the construction of extracellular protein interaction networks.

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