InterMine is a data integration warehouse and analysis software system developed for large and complex biological datasets. Designed for integrative analysis it can be accessed through a user-friendly web interface. For bioinformaticians, extensive web services as well as programming interfaces for most common scripting languages support access to all features.
The web interface includes a useful identifier look-up system, and both simple and sophisticated search options. Interactive results tables enable exploration, and data can be filtered, summarised and browsed. A set of graphical analysis tools provide a rich environment for data exploration including statistical enrichment of sets of genes or other entities.
InterMine databases have been developed for the major model organisms, budding yeast, nematode worm, fruit fly, zebrafish, mouse and rat together with a newly developed human database. Here we describe how this has facilitated interoperation and development of cross-organism analysis tools and reports. InterMine as a data exploration and analysis tool is also described. All the InterMine based systems described in the paper are resources freely available to the scientific community.
Data integration; Data analysis; Comparative analysis; Cross-organism analysis; Integrative analysis; Genomics; Proteomics
Resilience and the ability to mitigate the consequences of a nuclear incident are enhanced by (1) effective planning, preparation and training; (2) ongoing interaction, formal exercises, and evaluation among the sectors involved; (3) effective and timely response and communication; and (4) continuous improvements based on new science, technology, experience and ideas. Public health and medical planning require a complex, multi-faceted systematic approach involving federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, private sector organizations, academia, industry, international partners, and individual experts and volunteers. The approach developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nuclear Incident Medical Enterprise (NIME) is the result of efforts from government and nongovernment experts. It is a “bottom-up” systematic approach built on the available and emerging science that considers physical infrastructure damage, the spectrum of injuries, a scarce resources setting, the need for decision making in the face of a rapidly evolving situation with limited information early on, timely communication and the need for tools and just-in-time information for responders who will likely be unfamiliar with radiation medicine and uncertain and overwhelmed in the face of the large number of casualties and the presence of radioactivity. The components of NIME can be used to support planning for, response to, and recovery from the effects of a nuclear incident. Recognizing that it is a continuous work-in-progress, the current status of the public health and medical preparedness and response for a nuclear incident is provided.
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements; nuclear detonation; radiation emergency; improvised nuclear device; emergency preparedness and response; resilience
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an obligate intracellular parasite that must monitor for changes in the host environment and respond accordingly; however, it is still not fully known which genetic or epigenetic factors are involved in regulating virulence traits of T. gondii. There are on-going efforts to elucidate the mechanisms regulating the stage transition process via the application of high-throughput epigenomics, genomics and proteomics techniques. Given the range of experimental conditions and the typical yield from such high-throughput techniques, a new challenge arises: how to effectively collect, organize and disseminate the generated data for subsequent data analysis. Here, we describe toxoMine, which provides a powerful interface to support sophisticated integrative exploration of high-throughput experimental data and metadata, providing researchers with a more tractable means toward understanding how genetic and/or epigenetic factors play a coordinated role in determining pathogenicity of T. gondii. As a data warehouse, toxoMine allows integration of high-throughput data sets with public T. gondii data. toxoMine is also able to execute complex queries involving multiple data sets with straightforward user interaction. Furthermore, toxoMine allows users to define their own parameters during the search process that gives users near-limitless search and query capabilities. The interoperability feature also allows users to query and examine data available in other InterMine systems, which would effectively augment the search scope beyond what is available to toxoMine. toxoMine complements the major community database ToxoDB by providing a data warehouse that enables more extensive integrative studies for T. gondii. Given all these factors, we believe it will become an indispensable resource to the greater infectious disease research community.
Following a mass-casualty nuclear disaster, effective medical triage has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives. In order to best use the available scarce resources, there is an urgent need for biodosimetry tools to determine an individual’s radiation dose. Initial triage for radiation exposure will include location during the incident, symptoms, and physical examination. Stepwise triage will include point of care assessment of less than or greater than 2 Gy, followed by secondary assessment, possibly with high throughput screening, to further define an individual’s dose. Given the multisystem nature of radiation injury, it is unlikely that any single biodosimetry assay can be used as a stand-alone tool to meet the surge in capacity with the timeliness and accuracy needed. As part of the national preparedness and planning for a nuclear or radiological incident, we reviewed the primary literature to determine the capabilities and limitations of a number of biodosimetry assays currently available or under development for use in the initial and secondary triage of patients. Understanding the requirements from a response standpoint and the capability and logistics for the various assays will help inform future biodosimetry technology development and acquisition. Factors considered include: type of sample required, dose detection limit, time interval when the assay is feasible biologically, time for sample preparation and analysis, ease of use, logistical requirements, potential throughput, point-of-care capability, and the ability to support patient diagnosis and treatment within a therapeutically relevant time point.
Dosimetry; cytogenetics; dose assessment; emergency planning
The Arabidopsis Information Portal (https://www.araport.org) is a new online resource for plant biology research. It houses the Arabidopsis thaliana genome sequence and associated annotation. It was conceived as a framework that allows the research community to develop and release ‘modules’ that integrate, analyze and visualize Arabidopsis data that may reside at remote sites. The current implementation provides an indexed database of core genomic information. These data are made available through feature-rich web applications that provide search, data mining, and genome browser functionality, and also by bulk download and web services. Araport uses software from the InterMine and JBrowse projects to expose curated data from TAIR, GO, BAR, EBI, UniProt, PubMed and EPIC CoGe. The site also hosts ‘science apps,’ developed as prototypes for community modules that use dynamic web pages to present data obtained on-demand from third-party servers via RESTful web services. Designed for sustainability, the Arabidopsis Information Portal strategy exploits existing scientific computing infrastructure, adopts a practical mixture of data integration technologies and encourages collaborative enhancement of the resource by its user community.
InterMine (www.intermine.org) is a biological data warehousing system providing extensive automatically generated and configurable RESTful web services that underpin the web interface and can be re-used in many other applications: to find and filter data; export it in a flexible and structured way; to upload, use, manipulate and analyze lists; to provide services for flexible retrieval of sequence segments, and for other statistical and analysis tools. Here we describe these features and discuss how they can be used separately or in combinations to support integrative and comparative analysis.
The mechanisms which regulate HSC regeneration following myelosuppressive injury are not well understood. We identified epidermal growth factor (EGF) to be highly enriched in the bone marrow (BM) serum of mice bearing deletion of Bak and Bax in Tie2+ cells (Tie2Cre;Bak1−/−;Baxfl/− mice), which displayed radioprotection of the HSC pool and 100% survival following lethal dose total body irradiation (TBI). BM HSCs from wild type mice expressed functional EGFR and systemic administration of EGF promoted the recovery of the HSC pool in vivo and the improved survival of mice following TBI. Conversely, administration of erlotinib, an EGFR antagonist, significantly decreased both HSC regeneration and mice survival following TBI. VavCre;EGFRfl/+ mice also demonstrated delayed recovery of BM stem/progenitor cells following TBI compared to VavCre;EGFR+/+ mice. Mechanistically, EGF reduced radiation-induced apoptosis of HSCs and mediated this effect via repression of the proapoptotic protein, PUMA. EGFR signaling regulates HSC regeneration following myelosuppressive injury.
Model organisms are widely used for understanding basic biology, and have significantly contributed to the study of human disease. In recent years, genomic analysis has provided extensive evidence of widespread conservation of gene sequence and function amongst eukaryotes, allowing insights from model organisms to help decipher gene function in a wider range of species. The InterMOD consortium is developing an infrastructure based around the InterMine data warehouse system to integrate genomic and functional data from a number of key model organisms, leading the way to improved cross-species research. So far including budding yeast, nematode worm, fruit fly, zebrafish, rat and mouse, the project has set up data warehouses, synchronized data models, and created analysis tools and links between data from different species. The project unites a number of major model organism databases, improving both the consistency and accessibility of comparative research, to the benefit of the wider scientific community.
p53 functions in the heart to promote myocardial injury after multiple types of stress. However, how p53 regulates radiation-induced myocardial injury, which develops after radiation therapy, is not well understood. Here, we utilize the Cre-loxP system to demonstrate that p53 functioned in endothelial cells to protect mice from myocardial injury after whole-heart irradiation. Mice with an endothelial cell-specific deletion of p53 succumbed to heart failure after whole-heart irradiation due to myocardial necrosis, systolic dysfunction and cardiac hypertrophy. Moreover, the onset of cardiac dysfunction was preceded by alterations in myocardial vascular permeability and density, which resulted in cardiac ischemia and myocardial hypoxia. Mechanistic studies using primary cardiac endothelial cells irradiated in vitro indicated that p53 signaling caused mitotic arrest and protected cardiac endothelial cells against radiation-induced mitotic catastrophe. Furthermore, mice lacking the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21, which is a transcriptional target of p53, were also sensitized to myocardial injury after wholeheart irradiation. Together, our results demonstrate that the p53/p21 axis functions to prevent radiation-induced myocardial injury in mice.
Exposure of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to high doses of radiation can lead to lethality from the GI syndrome. Although the molecular mechanism regulating the GI syndrome remains to be fully defined, we have recently demonstrated that p53 within the GI epithelial cells controls the radiation-induced GI syndrome. Mice lacking p53 in the GI epithelium were sensitized to the GI syndrome, while transgenic mice with one additional copy of p53 called “Super p53” mice were protected from the GI syndrome. Here, we cross “Super p53” mice to p21−/− mice that lack the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. Super p53; p21−/− mice are sensitized to the GI syndrome compared to Super p53 mice that retain one p21 allele. In addition, mice lacking p21 are not protected from the GI syndrome with one extra copy of p53. These results suggest that p21 protects “Super p53” mice from the GI syndrome.
Summary: InterMine is an open-source data warehouse system that facilitates the building of databases with complex data integration requirements and a need for a fast customizable query facility. Using InterMine, large biological databases can be created from a range of heterogeneous data sources, and the extensible data model allows for easy integration of new data types. The analysis tools include a flexible query builder, genomic region search and a library of ‘widgets’ performing various statistical analyses. The results can be exported in many commonly used formats. InterMine is a fully extensible framework where developers can add new tools and functionality. Additionally, there is a comprehensive set of web services, for which client libraries are provided in five commonly used programming languages.
Availability: Freely available from http://www.intermine.org under the LGPL license.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; http://www.yeastgenome.org/) provides high-quality curated genomic, genetic, and molecular information on the genes and their products of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To accommodate the increasingly complex, diverse needs of researchers for searching and comparing data, SGD has implemented InterMine (http://www.InterMine.org), an open source data warehouse system with a sophisticated querying interface, to create YeastMine (http://yeastmine.yeastgenome.org). YeastMine is a multifaceted search and retrieval environment that provides access to diverse data types. Searches can be initiated with a list of genes, a list of Gene Ontology terms, or lists of many other data types. The results from queries can be combined for further analysis and saved or downloaded in customizable file formats. Queries themselves can be customized by modifying predefined templates or by creating a new template to access a combination of specific data types. YeastMine offers multiple scenarios in which it can be used such as a powerful search interface, a discovery tool, a curation aid and also a complex database presentation format.
In an effort to comprehensively characterize the functional elements within the genomes of the important model organisms Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, the NHGRI model organism Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE) consortium has generated an enormous library of genomic data along with detailed, structured information on all aspects of the experiments. The modMine database (http://intermine.modencode.org) described here has been built by the modENCODE Data Coordination Center to allow the broader research community to (i) search for and download data sets of interest among the thousands generated by modENCODE; (ii) access the data in an integrated form together with non-modENCODE data sets; and (iii) facilitate fine-grained analysis of the above data. The sophisticated search features are possible because of the collection of extensive experimental metadata by the consortium. Interfaces are provided to allow both biologists and bioinformaticians to exploit these rich modENCODE data sets now available via modMine.
Acute exposure to ionizing radiation can cause lethal damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a condition called the GI syndrome. Whether the target cells mediating the GI syndrome are derived from the epithelium or endothelium, and whether the target cells die by apoptosis or other mechanisms, are controversial issues. Studying mouse models, we found that selective deletion of the pro-apoptotic genes Bak1 and Bax from the GI epithelium or from endothelial cells did not protect mice from developing the GI syndrome after subtotal body gamma irradiation. In contrast, selective deletion of p53 from the GI epithelium, but not endothelial cells, sensitized irradiated mice to the GI syndrome. Transgenic mice overexpressing p53 in all tissues were protected from the GI syndrome after irradiation. These results suggest that the GI syndrome is caused by death of GI epithelial cells by a mechanism that is regulated by p53 but independent of apoptosis.
This novel web-based database provides unique accessibility and querying of integrated genomic and proteomic data for Drosophila and Anopheles.
FlyMine is a data warehouse that addresses one of the important challenges of modern biology: how to integrate and make use of the diversity and volume of current biological data. Its main focus is genomic and proteomics data for Drosophila and other insects. It provides web access to integrated data at a number of different levels, from simple browsing to construction of complex queries, which can be executed on either single items or lists.
The persistence of HIV-1 in virally suppressed infected individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) remains a major therapeutic problem. The use of cytokines has been envisioned as an additional therapeutic strategy to stimulate latent proviruses in these individuals. Immune activation therapy using IL-2 has shown some promise. In the present study, we found that IL-7 was significantly more effective at enhancing HIV-1 proviral reactivation than either IL-2 alone or IL-2 combined with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in CD8-depleted PBMCs. IL-7 also showed a positive trend for inducing proviral reactivation from resting CD4+ T lymphocytes from HIV-1–infected patients on suppressive HAART. Moreover, the phylogenetic analyses of viral envelope gp120 genes from induced viruses indicated that distinct proviral quasispecies had been activated by IL-7, as compared with those activated by the PHA/IL-2 treatment. These studies thus demonstrate that different activators of proviral latency may perturb and potentially deplete only selected, specific portions of the proviral archive in virally suppressed individuals. The known immunomodulatory effects of IL-7 could be combined with its ability to stimulate HIV-1 replication from resting CD4+ T lymphocytes, in addition to other moieties, to potentially deplete HIV-1 reservoirs and lead to the rational design of immune-antiretroviral approaches.
Three of five virally suppressed human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1)-infected patients treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy and followed intensively with a supersensitive reverse transcriptase PCR assay with a lower limit of quantitation of 5 copies/ml showed statistically significant viral load decays below 50 copies/ml, with half-lives of 5 to 8 months and a mean of 6 months. This range of half-lives is consistent with the estimated half-life of the latent HIV-1 reservoir in the peripheral blood. Those patients without decay of viral load in plasma may have significant cryptic HIV-1 residual replication.
We have studied the binding of neomycin to a 171mer RNA (ψ-RNA) from the packaging region of the LAI strain of human immunodeficiency virus type-1, HIV-1 (LAI). The RNase I footprinting studies reveal that the primary binding site for the drug is in stem–loop 1, which contains the dimer initiation site of HIV-1. Loading this site with neomycin causes a structural change in the RNA, allowing nucleotides in the neighboring stem–loop 2 to participate in the drug site. Drug binding to secondary sites induces structural changes in other stem–loops of the RNA. Footprinting plots, showing cutting at a site as a function of drug concentration, were analyzed using a two-state model to obtain relative site-specific binding constants. Circular dichroism measurements show that neomycin binding to ψ-RNA changes the intensity of the strong negative CD band at 208 nm, confirming that neomycin induces structural changes. Melting studies of the RNA showed melting transitions in the absence of drug at 28.2, 37.2, 47.4, 55.5 and 60.8°C. Only the first two were affected by drug binding, the reason for this being explained by our analysis.