To provide the scientific community with a single, centralized, authoritative resource for protein sequences and functional information, the Swiss-Prot, TrEMBL and PIR protein database activities have united to form the Universal Protein Knowledgebase (UniProt) consortium. Our mission is to provide a comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase, with extensive cross-references and query interfaces. The central database will have two sections, corresponding to the familiar Swiss-Prot (fully manually curated entries) and TrEMBL (enriched with automated classification, annotation and extensive cross-references). For convenient sequence searches, UniProt also provides several non-redundant sequence databases. The UniProt NREF (UniRef) databases provide representative subsets of the knowledgebase suitable for efficient searching. The comprehensive UniProt Archive (UniParc) is updated daily from many public source databases. The UniProt databases can be accessed online (http://www.uniprot.org) or downloaded in several formats (ftp://ftp.uniprot.org/pub). The scientific community is encouraged to submit data for inclusion in UniProt.
The UniProt knowledgebase, UniProtKB, is the main product of the UniProt consortium. It consists of two sections, UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, the manually curated section, and UniProtKB/TrEMBL, the computer translation of the EMBL/GenBank/DDBJ nucleotide sequence database. Taken together, these two sections cover all the proteins characterized or inferred from all publicly available nucleotide sequences. The Plant Proteome Annotation Program (PPAP) of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot focuses on the manual annotation of plant-specific proteins and protein families. Our major effort is currently directed towards the two model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa. In UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, redundancy is minimized by merging all data from different sources in a single entry. The proposed protein sequence is frequently modified after comparison with ESTs, full length transcripts or homologous proteins from other species. The information present in manually curated entries allows the reconstruction of all described isoforms. The annotation also includes proteomics data such as PTM and protein identification MS experimental results. UniProtKB and the other products of the UniProt consortium are accessible online at www.uniprot.org.
Database; UniProt; Manual annotation; Plant; Proteomics; PTM
The primary mission of Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) is to support biological research by maintaining a stable, comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase, with extensive cross-references and querying interfaces freely accessible to the scientific community. UniProt is produced by the UniProt Consortium which consists of groups from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). UniProt is comprised of four major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequence Database. UniProt is updated and distributed every 4 weeks and can be accessed online for searches or download at http://www.uniprot.org.
The primary mission of UniProt is to support biological research by maintaining a stable, comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase, with extensive cross-references and querying interfaces freely accessible to the scientific community. UniProt is produced by the UniProt Consortium which consists of groups from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). UniProt is comprised of four major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequence Database. UniProt is updated and distributed every 3 weeks and can be accessed online for searches or download at http://www.uniprot.org.
The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) provides a stable, comprehensive, freely accessible, central resource on protein sequences and functional annotation. The UniProt Consortium is a collaboration between the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the Protein Information Resource (PIR) and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). The core activities include manual curation of protein sequences assisted by computational analysis, sequence archiving, development of a user-friendly UniProt website, and the provision of additional value-added information through cross-references to other databases. UniProt is comprised of four major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters, the UniProt Archive and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequences database. UniProt is updated and distributed every three weeks, and can be accessed online for searches or download at http://www.uniprot.org.
The mission of the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) (http://www.uniprot.org) is to support biological research by providing a freely accessible, stable, comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase. It integrates, interprets and standardizes data from numerous resources to achieve the most comprehensive catalogue of protein sequences and functional annotation. UniProt comprises four major components, each optimized for different uses, the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequence Database. UniProt is produced by the UniProt Consortium, which consists of groups from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). UniProt is updated and distributed every 4 weeks and can be accessed online for searches or downloads.
The mission of UniProt is to provide the scientific community with a comprehensive, high-quality and freely accessible resource of protein sequence and functional information that is essential for modern biological research. UniProt is produced by the UniProt Consortium which consists of groups from the European Bioinformatics Institute, the Protein Information Resource and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. The core activities include manual curation of protein sequences assisted by computational analysis, sequence archiving, a user-friendly UniProt website and the provision of additional value-added information through cross-references to other databases. UniProt is comprised of four major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequence Database. One of the key achievements of the UniProt consortium in 2008 is the completion of the first draft of the complete human proteome in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot. This manually annotated representation of all currently known human protein-coding genes was made available in UniProt release 14.0 with 20 325 entries. UniProt is updated and distributed every three weeks and can be accessed online for searches or downloaded at www.uniprot.org.
The ability to store and interconnect all available information on proteins is crucial to modern biological research. Accordingly, the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) plays an increasingly important role by providing a stable, comprehensive, freely accessible central resource on protein sequences and functional annotation. UniProt is produced by the UniProt Consortium, formed in 2002 by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), the Protein Information Resource (PIR) and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). The core activities include manual curation of protein sequences assisted by computational analysis, sequence archiving, development of a user-friendly UniProt web site and the provision of additional value-added information through cross-references to other databases. UniProt is comprised of three major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase and the UniProt Reference Clusters. An additional component consisting of metagenomic and environmental sequences has recently been added to UniProt to ensure availability of such sequences in a timely fashion. UniProt is updated and distributed on a bi-weekly basis and can be accessed online for searches or download at .
The mission of UniProt is to support biological research by providing a freely accessible, stable, comprehensive, fully classified, richly and accurately annotated protein sequence knowledgebase, with extensive cross-references and querying interfaces. UniProt is comprised of four major components, each optimized for different uses: the UniProt Archive, the UniProt Knowledgebase, the UniProt Reference Clusters and the UniProt Metagenomic and Environmental Sequence Database. A key development at UniProt is the provision of complete, reference and representative proteomes. UniProt is updated and distributed every 4 weeks and can be accessed online for searches or download at http://www.uniprot.org.
The Protein Information Resource (PIR) recently joined the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) to establish UniProt -- the Universal Protein Resource -- which now unifies the PIR, Swiss-Prot and TrEMBL databases. The PIRSF (SuperFamily) classification system is central to the PIR/UniProt functional annotation of proteins, providing classifications of whole proteins into a network structure to reflect their evolutionary relationships. Data integration and associative studies of protein family, function and structure are supported by the iProClass database, which offers value-added descriptions of all UniProt proteins with highly informative links to more than 50 other databases. The PIR system allows consistent, rich and accurate protein annotation for all investigators.
protein web sites; protein family; functional annotation
In the genomic era a key issue is protein annotation, namely how to endow protein sequences, upon translation from the corresponding genes, with structural and functional features. Routinely this operation is electronically done by deriving and integrating information from previous knowledge. The reference database for protein sequences is UniProtKB divided into two sections, UniProtKB/TrEMBL which is automatically annotated and not reviewed and UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot which is manually annotated and reviewed. The annotation process is essentially based on sequence similarity search. The question therefore arises as to which extent annotation based on transfer by inheritance is valuable and specifically if it is possible to statistically validate inherited features when little homology exists among the target sequence and its template(s).
In this paper we address the problem of annotating protein sequences in a statistically validated manner considering as a reference annotation resource UniProtKB. The test case is the set of 48,298 proteins recently released by the Critical Assessment of Function Annotations (CAFA) organization. We show that we can transfer after validation, Gene Ontology (GO) terms of the three main categories and Pfam domains to about 68% and 72% of the sequences, respectively. This is possible after alignment of the CAFA sequences towards BAR+, our annotation resource that allows discriminating among statistically validated and not statistically validated annotation. By comparing with a direct UniProtKB annotation, we find that besides validating annotation of some 78% of the CAFA set, we assign new and statistically validated annotation to 14.8% of the sequences and find new structural templates for about 25% of the chains, half of which share less than 30% sequence identity to the corresponding template/s.
Inheritance of annotation by transfer generally requires a careful selection of the identity value among the target and the template in order to transfer structural and/or functional features. Here we prove that even distantly remote homologs can be safely endowed with structural templates and GO and/or Pfam terms provided that annotation is done within clusters collecting cluster-related protein sequences and where a statistical validation of the shared structural and functional features is possible.
ProtoNet 6.0 (http://www.protonet.cs.huji.ac.il) is a data structure of protein families that cover the protein sequence space. These families are generated through an unsupervised bottom–up clustering algorithm. This algorithm organizes large sets of proteins in a hierarchical tree that yields high-quality protein families. The 2012 ProtoNet (Version 6.0) tree includes over 9 million proteins of which 5.5% come from UniProtKB/SwissProt and the rest from UniProtKB/TrEMBL. The hierarchical tree structure is based on an all-against-all comparison of 2.5 million representatives of UniRef50. Rigorous annotation-based quality tests prune the tree to most informative 162 088 clusters. Every high-quality cluster is assigned a ProtoName that reflects the most significant annotations of its proteins. These annotations are dominated by GO terms, UniProt/Swiss-Prot keywords and InterPro. ProtoNet 6.0 operates in a default mode. When used in the advanced mode, this data structure offers the user a view of the family tree at any desired level of resolution. Systematic comparisons with previous versions of ProtoNet are carried out. They show how our view of protein families evolves, as larger parts of the sequence space become known. ProtoNet 6.0 provides numerous tools to navigate the hierarchy of clusters.
The UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProtKB) acts as a central hub of protein knowledge by providing a unified view of protein sequence and functional information. Manual and automatic annotation procedures are used to add data directly to the database while extensive cross-referencing to more than 120 external databases provides access to additional relevant information in more specialized data collections. UniProtKB also integrates a range of data from other resources. All information is attributed to its original source, allowing users to trace the provenance of all data. The UniProt Consortium is committed to using and promoting common data exchange formats and technologies, and UniProtKB data is made freely available in a range of formats to facilitate integration with other databases.
Database URL: http://www.uniprot.org/
Sequences and structures provide valuable complementary information on protein features and functions. However, it is not always straightforward for users to gather information concurrently from the sequence and structure levels. The UniProt knowledgebase (UniProtKB) strives to help users on this undertaking by providing complete cross-references to Protein Data Bank (PDB) as well as coherent feature annotation using available structural information. In this study, SSMap – a new UniProt-PDB residue-residue level mapping – was generated. The primary objective of this mapping is not only to facilitate the two tasks mentioned above, but also to palliate a number of shortcomings of existent mappings. SSMap is the first isoform sequence-specific mapping resource and is up-to-date for UniProtKB annotation tasks. The method employed by SSMap differs from the other mapping resources in that it stresses on the correct reconstruction of the PDB sequence from structures, and on the correct attribution of a UniProtKB entry to each PDB chain by using a series of post-processing steps.
SSMap was compared to other existing mapping resources in terms of the correctness of the attribution of PDB chains to UniProtKB entries, and of the quality of the pairwise alignments supporting the residue-residue mapping. It was found that SSMap shared about 80% of the mappings with other mapping sources. New and alternative mappings proposed by SSMap were mostly good as assessed by manual verification of data subsets. As for local pairwise alignments, it was shown that major discrepancies (both in terms of alignment lengths and boundaries), when present, were often due to differences in methodologies used for the mappings.
SSMap provides an independent, good quality UniProt-PDB mapping. The systematic comparison conducted in this study allows the further identification of general problems in UniProt-PDB mappings so that both the coverage and the quality of the mappings can be systematically improved for the benefit of the scientific community. SSMap mapping is currently used to provide PDB cross-references in UniProtKB.
The Gene Ontology Annotation (GOA) database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/GOA) aims to provide high-quality electronic and manual annotations to the UniProt Knowledgebase (Swiss-Prot, TrEMBL and PIR-PSD) using the standardized vocabulary of the Gene Ontology (GO). As a supplementary archive of GO annotation, GOA promotes a high level of integration of the knowledge represented in UniProt with other databases. This is achieved by converting UniProt annotation into a recognized computational format. GOA provides annotated entries for nearly 60 000 species (GOA-SPTr) and is the largest and most comprehensive open-source contributor of annotations to the GO Consortium annotation effort. By integrating GO annotations from other model organism groups, GOA consolidates specialized knowledge and expertise to ensure the data remain a key reference for up-to-date biological information. Furthermore, the GOA database fully endorses the Human Proteomics Initiative by prioritizing the annotation of proteins likely to benefit human health and disease. In addition to a non-redundant set of annotations to the human proteome (GOA-Human) and monthly releases of its GO annotation for all species (GOA-SPTr), a series of GO mapping files and specific cross-references in other databases are also regularly distributed. GOA can be queried through a simple user-friendly web interface or downloaded in a parsable format via the EBI and GO FTP websites. The GOA data set can be used to enhance the annotation of particular model organism or gene expression data sets, although increasingly it has been used to evaluate GO predictions generated from text mining or protein interaction experiments. In 2004, the GOA team will build on its success and will continue to supplement the functional annotation of UniProt and work towards enhancing the ability of scientists to access all available biological information. Researchers wishing to query or contribute to the GOA project are encouraged to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the UniProt KnowledgeBase is not a medical-oriented database, it contains information on more than 2,000 human proteins involved in pathologies. However, these annotations are not standardized, which impairs the interoperability between biological and clinical resources. In order to make these data easily accessible to clinical researchers, we have developed a procedure to link diseases described in the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries to the MeSH disease terminology.
We mapped disease names extracted either from the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entry comment lines or from the corresponding OMIM entry to the MeSH. Different methods were assessed on a benchmark set of 200 disease names manually mapped to MeSH terms. The performance of the retained procedure in term of precision and recall was 86% and 64% respectively. Using the same procedure, more than 3,000 disease names in Swiss-Prot were mapped to MeSH with comparable efficiency.
This study is a first attempt to link proteins in UniProtKB to the medical resources. The indexing we provided will help clinicians and researchers navigate from diseases to genes and from genes to diseases in an efficient way. The mapping is available at: .
Protein sequence databases are the pillar upon which modern proteomics is supported, representing a stable reference space of predicted and validated proteins. One example of such resources is UniProt, enriched with both expertly curated and automatic annotations. Taken largely for granted, similar mature resources such as UniProt are not available yet in some other “omics” fields, lipidomics being one of them. While having a seasoned community of wet lab scientists, lipidomics lies significantly behind proteomics in the adoption of data standards and other core bioinformatics concepts. This work aims to reduce the gap by developing an equivalent resource to UniProt called ‘LipidHome’, providing theoretically generated lipid molecules and useful metadata. Using the ‘FASTLipid’ Java library, a database was populated with theoretical lipids, generated from a set of community agreed upon chemical bounds. In parallel, a web application was developed to present the information and provide computational access via a web service. Designed specifically to accommodate high throughput mass spectrometry based approaches, lipids are organised into a hierarchy that reflects the variety in the structural resolution of lipid identifications. Additionally, cross-references to other lipid related resources and papers that cite specific lipids were used to annotate lipid records. The web application encompasses a browser for viewing lipid records and a ‘tools’ section where an MS1 search engine is currently implemented. LipidHome can be accessed at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/apweiler-srv/lipidhome.
The UniProt KnowledgeBase (UniProtKB) provides a single, centralized, authoritative resource for protein sequences and functional information. The majority of its records is based on automatic translation of coding sequences (CDS) provided by submitters at the time of initial deposition to the nucleotide sequence databases (INSDC). This article will give a general overview of the current situation, with some specific illustrations extracted from our annotation of Arabidopsis and rice proteomes. More and more frequently, only the raw sequence of a complete genome is deposited to the nucleotide sequence databases and the gene model predictions and annotations are kept in separate, specialized model organism databases (MODs). In order to be able to provide the complete proteome of model organisms, UniProtKB had to implement pipelines for import of protein sequences from Ensembl and EnsemblGenomes. A single genome can be the target of several unrelated sequencing projects and the final assembly and gene model predictions may diverge quite significantly. In addition, several cultivars of the same species are often sequenced – 1001 Arabidopsis cultivars are currently under way – and the resulting proteomes are far from being identical. Therefore, one challenge for UniProtKB is to store and organize these data in a convenient way and to clearly defined reference proteomes that should be made available to users. Manual annotation is one of the landmarks of the Swiss-Prot section of UniProtKB. Besides adding functional annotation, curators are checking, and often correcting, gene model predictions. For plants, this task is limited to Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa subsp. japonica. Proteomics data providing experimental evidences confirming the existence of proteins or identifying sequence features such as post-translational modifications are also imported into UniProtKB records and the knowledgebase is cross-referenced to numerous proteomics resource.
knowledgebase; protein; genome; complete proteome; proteomics
HAMAP (High-quality Automated and Manual Annotation of Proteins—available at http://hamap.expasy.org/) is a system for the classification and annotation of protein sequences. It consists of a collection of manually curated family profiles for protein classification, and associated annotation rules that specify annotations that apply to family members. HAMAP was originally developed to support the manual curation of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot records describing microbial proteins. Here we describe new developments in HAMAP, including the extension of HAMAP to eukaryotic proteins, the use of HAMAP in the automated annotation of UniProtKB/TrEMBL, providing high-quality annotation for millions of protein sequences, and the future integration of HAMAP into a unified system for UniProtKB annotation, UniRule. HAMAP is continuously updated by expert curators with new family profiles and annotation rules as new protein families are characterized. The collection of HAMAP family classification profiles and annotation rules can be browsed and viewed on the HAMAP website, which also provides an interface to scan user sequences against HAMAP profiles.
The Protein Identifier Cross-Reference (PICR) service is a tool that allows users to map protein identifiers, protein sequences and gene identifiers across over 100 different source databases. PICR takes input through an interactive website as well as Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) services. It returns the results as HTML pages, XLS and CSV files. It has been in production since 2007 and has been recently enhanced to add new functionality and increase the number of databases it covers. Protein subsequences can be Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) against the UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProtKB) to provide an entry point to the standard PICR mapping algorithm. In addition, gene identifiers from UniProtKB and Ensembl can now be submitted as input or mapped to as output from PICR. We have also implemented a ‘best-guess’ mapping algorithm for UniProt. In this article, we describe the usefulness of PICR, how these changes have been implemented, and the corresponding additions to the web services. Finally, we explain that the number of source databases covered by PICR has increased from the initial 73 to the current 102. New resources include several new species-specific Ensembl databases as well as the Ensembl Genome ones. PICR can be accessed at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/picr/.
Due to the rapid release of new data from genome sequencing projects, the majority of protein sequences in public databases have not been experimentally characterized; rather, sequences are annotated using computational analysis. The level of misannotation and the types of misannotation in large public databases are currently unknown and have not been analyzed in depth. We have investigated the misannotation levels for molecular function in four public protein sequence databases (UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, GenBank NR, UniProtKB/TrEMBL, and KEGG) for a model set of 37 enzyme families for which extensive experimental information is available. The manually curated database Swiss-Prot shows the lowest annotation error levels (close to 0% for most families); the two other protein sequence databases (GenBank NR and TrEMBL) and the protein sequences in the KEGG pathways database exhibit similar and surprisingly high levels of misannotation that average 5%–63% across the six superfamilies studied. For 10 of the 37 families examined, the level of misannotation in one or more of these databases is >80%. Examination of the NR database over time shows that misannotation has increased from 1993 to 2005. The types of misannotation that were found fall into several categories, most associated with “overprediction” of molecular function. These results suggest that misannotation in enzyme superfamilies containing multiple families that catalyze different reactions is a larger problem than has been recognized. Strategies are suggested for addressing some of the systematic problems contributing to these high levels of misannotation.
One of the core elements of modern biological scientific investigation is the universal availability of millions of protein sequences from thousands of different organisms, allowing for exciting new investigations into biological questions. These sequences, found in large primary sequence databases such as GenBank NR or UniProt/TrEMBL, in secondary databases such as the valuable pathways database KEGG, or in highly curated databases such as UniProt/Swiss-Prot, are often annotated by computationally predicted protein functions. The scale of the available predicted function information is enormous but the accuracy of these predictions is essentially unknown. We investigate the critical question of the accuracy of functional predictions in these four public databases. We used 37 well-characterized enzyme families as a gold standard for comparing the accuracy of functional annotations in these databases. We find that function prediction error (i.e., misannotation) is a serious problem in all but the manually curated database Swiss-Prot. We discuss several approaches for mitigating the consequences of these high levels of misannotation.
Correct prediction of the structure of protein-coding genes of higher eukaryotes is still a difficult task; therefore, public databases are heavily contaminated with mispredicted sequences. The high rate of misprediction has serious consequences because it significantly affects the conclusions that may be drawn from genome-scale sequence analyses of eukaryotic genomes. Here we present the MisPred database and computational pipeline that provide efficient means for the identification of erroneous sequences in public databases. The MisPred database contains a collection of abnormal, incomplete and mispredicted protein sequences from 19 metazoan species identified as erroneous by MisPred quality control tools in the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, UniProtKB/TrEMBL, NCBI/RefSeq and EnsEMBL databases. Major releases of the database are automatically generated and updated regularly. The database (http://www.mispred.com) is easily accessible through a simple web interface coupled to a powerful query engine and a standard web service. The content is completely or partially downloadable in a variety of formats.
Animal toxins are of interest to a wide range of scientists, due to their numerous applications in pharmacology, neurology, hematology, medicine, and drug research. This, and to a lesser extent the development of new performing tools in transcriptomics and proteomics, has led to an increase in toxin discovery. In this context, providing publicly available data on animal toxins has become essential. The UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot Tox-Prot program (http://www.uniprot.org/program/Toxins) plays a crucial role by providing such an access to venom protein sequences and functions from all venomous species. This program has up to now curated more than 5’000 venom proteins to the high-quality standards of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot (release 2012_02). Proteins targeted by these toxins are also available in the knowledgebase. This paper describes in details the type of information provided by UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot for toxins, as well as the structured format of the knowledgebase.
UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot Tox-Prot program; Database; Curation; Venom protein; Animal toxin; Bioinformatics
UniPathway (http://www.unipathway.org) is a fully manually curated resource for the representation and annotation of metabolic pathways. UniPathway provides explicit representations of enzyme-catalyzed and spontaneous chemical reactions, as well as a hierarchical representation of metabolic pathways. This hierarchy uses linear subpathways as the basic building block for the assembly of larger and more complex pathways, including species-specific pathway variants. All of the pathway data in UniPathway has been extensively cross-linked to existing pathway resources such as KEGG and MetaCyc, as well as sequence resources such as the UniProt KnowledgeBase (UniProtKB), for which UniPathway provides a controlled vocabulary for pathway annotation. We introduce here the basic concepts underlying the UniPathway resource, with the aim of allowing users to fully exploit the information provided by UniPathway.
The UniProt consortium was formed in 2002 by groups from the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR) at Georgetown University, and soon afterwards the website was set up as a central entry point to UniProt resources. Requests to this address were redirected to one of the three organisations' websites. While these sites shared a set of static pages with general information about UniProt, their pages for searching and viewing data were different. To provide users with a consistent view and to cut the cost of maintaining three separate sites, the consortium decided to develop a common website for UniProt. Following several years of intense development and a year of public beta testing, the domain was switched to the newly developed site described in this paper in July 2008.
The UniProt consortium is the main provider of protein sequence and annotation data for much of the life sciences community. The website is the primary access point to this data and to documentation and basic tools for the data. These tools include full text and field-based text search, similarity search, multiple sequence alignment, batch retrieval and database identifier mapping. This paper discusses the design and implementation of the new website, which was released in July 2008, and shows how it improves data access for users with different levels of experience, as well as to machines for programmatic access.
is open for both academic and commercial use. The site was built with open source tools and libraries. Feedback is very welcome and should be sent to email@example.com.
The new UniProt website makes accessing and understanding UniProt easier than ever. The two main lessons learned are that getting the basics right for such a data provider website has huge benefits, but is not trivial and easy to underestimate, and that there is no substitute for using empirical data throughout the development process to decide on what is and what is not working for your users.