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1.  C2orf62 and TTC17 Are Involved in Actin Organization and Ciliogenesis in Zebrafish and Human 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86476.
Vertebrate genomes contain around 20,000 protein-encoding genes, of which a large fraction is still not associated with specific functions. A major task in future genomics will thus be to assign physiological roles to all open reading frames revealed by genome sequencing. Here we show that C2orf62, a highly conserved protein with little homology to characterized proteins, is strongly expressed in testis in zebrafish and mammals, and in various types of ciliated cells during zebrafish development. By yeast two hybrid and GST pull-down, C2orf62 was shown to interact with TTC17, another uncharacterized protein. Depletion of either C2orf62 or TTC17 in human ciliated cells interferes with actin polymerization and reduces the number of primary cilia without changing their length. Zebrafish embryos injected with morpholinos against C2orf62 or TTC17, or with mRNA coding for the C2orf62 C-terminal part containing a RII dimerization/docking (R2D2) – like domain show morphological defects consistent with imperfect ciliogenesis. We provide here the first evidence for a C2orf62-TTC17 axis that would regulate actin polymerization and ciliogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3903541  PMID: 24475127
2.  Functional Identification of APIP as Human mtnB, a Key Enzyme in the Methionine Salvage Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52877.
The methionine salvage pathway is widely distributed among some eubacteria, yeast, plants and animals and recycles the sulfur-containing metabolite 5-methylthioadenosine (MTA) to methionine. In eukaryotic cells, the methionine salvage pathway takes place in the cytosol and usually involves six enzymatic activities: MTA phosphorylase (MTAP, EC, 5′-methylthioribose-1-phosphate isomerase (mtnA, EC, 5′-methylthioribulose-1-phosphate dehydratase (mtnB, EC:, 2,3-dioxomethiopentane-1-phosphate enolase/phosphatase (mtnC, EC, aci-reductone dioxygenase (mtnD, EC and 4-methylthio-2-oxo-butanoate (MTOB) transaminase (EC 2.6.1.-). The aim of this study was to complete the available information on the methionine salvage pathway in human by identifying the enzyme responsible for the dehydratase step. Using a bioinformatics approach, we propose that a protein called APIP could perform this role. The involvement of this protein in the methionine salvage pathway was investigated directly in HeLa cells by transient and stable short hairpin RNA interference. We show that APIP depletion specifically impaired the capacity of cells to grow in media where methionine is replaced by MTA. Using a Shigella mutant auxotroph for methionine, we confirm that the knockdown of APIP specifically affects the recycling of methionine. We also show that mutation of three potential phosphorylation sites does not affect APIP activity whereas mutation of the potential zinc binding site completely abrogates it. Finally, we show that the N-terminal region of APIP that is missing in the short isoform is required for activity. Together, these results confirm the involvement of APIP in the methionine salvage pathway, which plays a key role in many biological functions like cancer, apoptosis, microbial proliferation and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3532061  PMID: 23285211
3.  Human Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Genes: Alternatively-Spliced Transcriptional Variants and Their Suggested Nomenclature 
Pharmacogenetics and Genomics  2009;19(11):893-902.
The human aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) gene superfamily consists of 19 genes encoding enzymes critical for NAD(P)+-dependent oxidation of endogenous and exogenous aldehydes, including drugs and environmental toxicants. Mutations in ALDH genes are the molecular basis of several disease states (e.g. Sjögren-Larsson syndrome, pyridoxine-dependent seizures, and type II hyperprolinemia) and may contribute to the etiology of complex diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The aim of this nomenclature update was to identify splice transcriptional variants principally for the human ALDH genes.
Data-mining methods were used to retrieve all human ALDH sequences. Alternatively-spliced transcriptional variants were determined based upon: a) criteria for sequence integrity and genomic alignment; b) evidence of multiple independent cDNA sequences corresponding to a variant sequence; and c) if available, empirical evidence of variants from the literature.
Alternatively-spliced transcriptional variants and their encoded proteins exist for most of the human ALDH genes; however, their function and significance remain to be established. When compared with the human genome, rat and mouse include an additional gene, Aldh1a7, in the ALDH1A subfamily. In order to avoid confusion when identifying splice variants in various genomes, nomenclature guidelines for the naming of such alternative transcriptional variants and proteins are recommended herein. In addition, a web database ( has been developed to provide up-to-date information and nomenclature guidelines for the ALDH superfamily.
PMCID: PMC3356695  PMID: 19823103
Aldehyde Dehydrogenase; ALDH; Alternatively-Spliced Variants; Nomenclature; Human
5.  neXtProt: a knowledge platform for human proteins 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(D1):D76-D83.
neXtProt ( is a new human protein-centric knowledge platform. Developed at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), it aims to help researchers answer questions relevant to human proteins. To achieve this goal, neXtProt is built on a corpus containing both curated knowledge originating from the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot knowledgebase and carefully selected and filtered high-throughput data pertinent to human proteins. This article presents an overview of the database and the data integration process. We also lay out the key future directions of neXtProt that we consider the necessary steps to make neXtProt the one-stop-shop for all research projects focusing on human proteins.
PMCID: PMC3245017  PMID: 22139911
6.  UniPathway: a resource for the exploration and annotation of metabolic pathways 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(D1):D761-D769.
UniPathway ( 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.
PMCID: PMC3245108  PMID: 22102589
7.  Towards BioDBcore: a community-defined information specification for biological databases 
The present article proposes the adoption of a community-defined, uniform, generic description of the core attributes of biological databases, BioDBCore. The goals of these attributes are to provide a general overview of the database landscape, to encourage consistency and interoperability between resources; and to promote the use of semantic and syntactic standards. BioDBCore will make it easier for users to evaluate the scope and relevance of available resources. This new resource will increase the collective impact of the information present in biological databases.
PMCID: PMC3017395  PMID: 21205783
8.  Towards BioDBcore: a community-defined information specification for biological databases 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(Database issue):D7-D10.
The present article proposes the adoption of a community-defined, uniform, generic description of the core attributes of biological databases, BioDBCore. The goals of these attributes are to provide a general overview of the database landscape, to encourage consistency and interoperability between resources and to promote the use of semantic and syntactic standards. BioDBCore will make it easier for users to evaluate the scope and relevance of available resources. This new resource will increase the collective impact of the information present in biological databases.
PMCID: PMC3013734  PMID: 21097465
9.  ViralZone: a knowledge resource to understand virus diversity 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(Database issue):D576-D582.
The molecular diversity of viruses complicates the interpretation of viral genomic and proteomic data. To make sense of viral gene functions, investigators must be familiar with the virus host range, replication cycle and virion structure. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive resource bridging together textbook knowledge with genomic and proteomic sequences. ViralZone web resource ( provides fact sheets on all known virus families/genera with easy access to sequence data. A selection of reference strains (RefStrain) provides annotated standards to circumvent the exponential increase of virus sequences. Moreover ViralZone offers a complete set of detailed and accurate virion pictures.
PMCID: PMC3013774  PMID: 20947564
10.  The UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot knowledgebase and its Plant Proteome Annotation Program 
Journal of proteomics  2008;72(3):567-573.
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
PMCID: PMC2689360  PMID: 19084081
Database; UniProt; Manual annotation; Plant; Proteomics; PTM
11.  OpenFluDB, a database for human and animal influenza virus 
Although research on influenza lasted for more than 100 years, it is still one of the most prominent diseases causing half a million human deaths every year. With the recent observation of new highly pathogenic H5N1 and H7N7 strains, and the appearance of the influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 swine-like lineage, a collaborative effort to share observations on the evolution of this virus in both animals and humans has been established. The OpenFlu database (OpenFluDB) is a part of this collaborative effort. It contains genomic and protein sequences, as well as epidemiological data from more than 27 000 isolates. The isolate annotations include virus type, host, geographical location and experimentally tested antiviral resistance. Putative enhanced pathogenicity as well as human adaptation propensity are computed from protein sequences. Each virus isolate can be associated with the laboratories that collected, sequenced and submitted it. Several analysis tools including multiple sequence alignment, phylogenetic analysis and sequence similarity maps enable rapid and efficient mining. The contents of OpenFluDB are supplied by direct user submission, as well as by a daily automatic procedure importing data from public repositories. Additionally, a simple mechanism facilitates the export of OpenFluDB records to GenBank. This resource has been successfully used to rapidly and widely distribute the sequences collected during the recent human swine flu outbreak and also as an exchange platform during the vaccine selection procedure. Database URL:
PMCID: PMC2911839  PMID: 20624713
12.  Animal Toxins: How is Complexity Represented in Databases? 
Toxins  2010;2(2):262-282.
Peptide toxins synthesized by venomous animals have been extensively studied in the last decades. To be useful to the scientific community, this knowledge has been stored, annotated and made easy to retrieve by several databases. The aim of this article is to present what type of information users can access from each database. ArachnoServer and ConoServer focus on spider toxins and cone snail toxins, respectively. UniProtKB, a generalist protein knowledgebase, has an animal toxin-dedicated annotation program that includes toxins from all venomous animals. Finally, the ATDB metadatabase compiles data and annotations from other databases and provides toxin ontology.
PMCID: PMC3202812  PMID: 22069583
animal toxin; ArachnoServer; ATDB; ConoServer; database; Tox-Prot; UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot; venom protein
13.  PROSITE, a protein domain database for functional characterization and annotation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(Database issue):D161-D166.
PROSITE consists of documentation entries describing protein domains, families and functional sites, as well as associated patterns and profiles to identify them. It is complemented by ProRule, a collection of rules based on profiles and patterns, which increases the discriminatory power of these profiles and patterns by providing additional information about functionally and/or structurally critical amino acids. PROSITE is largely used for the annotation of domain features of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries. Among the 983 (DNA-binding) domains, repeats and zinc fingers present in Swiss-Prot (release 57.8 of 22 September 2009), 696 (∼70%) are annotated with PROSITE descriptors using information from ProRule. In order to allow better functional characterization of domains, PROSITE developments focus on subfamily specific profiles and a new profile building method giving more weight to functionally important residues. Here, we describe AMSA, an annotated multiple sequence alignment format used to build a new generation of generalized profiles, the migration of ScanProsite to Vital-IT, a cluster of 633 CPUs, and the adoption of the Distributed Annotation System (DAS) to facilitate PROSITE data integration and interchange with other sources. The latest version of PROSITE (release 20.54, of 22 September 2009) contains 1308 patterns, 863 profiles and 869 ProRules. PROSITE is accessible at:
PMCID: PMC2808866  PMID: 19858104
14.  Infrastructure for the life sciences: design and implementation of the UniProt website 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10:136.
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
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.
PMCID: PMC2686714  PMID: 19426475
15.  InterPro: the integrative protein signature database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D211-D215.
The InterPro database ( integrates together predictive models or ‘signatures’ representing protein domains, families and functional sites from multiple, diverse source databases: Gene3D, PANTHER, Pfam, PIRSF, PRINTS, ProDom, PROSITE, SMART, SUPERFAMILY and TIGRFAMs. Integration is performed manually and approximately half of the total ∼58 000 signatures available in the source databases belong to an InterPro entry. Recently, we have started to also display the remaining un-integrated signatures via our web interface. Other developments include the provision of non-signature data, such as structural data, in new XML files on our FTP site, as well as the inclusion of matchless UniProtKB proteins in the existing match XML files. The web interface has been extended and now links out to the ADAN predicted protein–protein interaction database and the SPICE and Dasty viewers. The latest public release (v18.0) covers 79.8% of UniProtKB (v14.1) and consists of 16 549 entries. InterPro data may be accessed either via the web address above, via web services, by downloading files by anonymous FTP or by using the InterProScan search software (
PMCID: PMC2686546  PMID: 18940856
16.  HAMAP: a database of completely sequenced microbial proteome sets and manually curated microbial protein families in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D471-D478.
The growth in the number of completely sequenced microbial genomes (bacterial and archaeal) has generated a need for a procedure that provides UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot-quality annotation to as many protein sequences as possible. We have devised a semi-automated system, HAMAP (High-quality Automated and Manual Annotation of microbial Proteomes), that uses manually built annotation templates for protein families to propagate annotation to all members of manually defined protein families, using very strict criteria. The HAMAP system is composed of two databases, the proteome database and the family database, and of an automatic annotation pipeline. The proteome database comprises biological and sequence information for each completely sequenced microbial proteome, and it offers several tools for CDS searches, BLAST options and retrieval of specific sets of proteins. The family database currently comprises more than 1500 manually curated protein families and their annotation templates that are used to annotate proteins that belong to one of the HAMAP families. On the HAMAP website, individual sequences as well as whole genomes can be scanned against all HAMAP families. The system provides warnings for the absence of conserved amino acid residues, unusual sequence length, etc. Thanks to the implementation of HAMAP, more than 200 000 microbial proteins have been fully annotated in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot (HAMAP website:
PMCID: PMC2686602  PMID: 18849571
17.  CTdatabase: a knowledge-base of high-throughput and curated data on cancer-testis antigens 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D816-D819.
The potency of the immune response has still to be harnessed effectively to combat human cancers. However, the discovery of T-cell targets in melanomas and other tumors has raised the possibility that cancer vaccines can be used to induce a therapeutically effective immune response against cancer. The targets, cancer-testis (CT) antigens, are immunogenic proteins preferentially expressed in normal gametogenic tissues and different histological types of tumors. Therapeutic cancer vaccines directed against CT antigens are currently in late-stage clinical trials testing whether they can delay or prevent recurrence of lung cancer and melanoma following surgical removal of primary tumors. CT antigens constitute a large, but ill-defined, family of proteins that exhibit a remarkably restricted expression. Currently, there is a considerable amount of information about these proteins, but the data are scattered through the literature and in several bioinformatic databases. The database presented here, CTdatabase (, unifies this knowledge to facilitate both the mining of the existing deluge of data, and the identification of proteins alleged to be CT antigens, but that do not have their characteristic restricted expression pattern. CTdatabase is more than a repository of CT antigen data, since all the available information was carefully curated and annotated with most data being specifically processed for CT antigens and stored locally. Starting from a compilation of known CT antigens, CTdatabase provides basic information including gene names and aliases, RefSeq accession numbers, genomic location, known splicing variants, gene duplications and additional family members. Gene expression at the mRNA level in normal and tumor tissues has been collated from publicly available data obtained by several different technologies. Manually curated data related to mRNA and protein expression, and antigen-specific immune responses in cancer patients are also available, together with links to PubMed for relevant CT antigen articles.
PMCID: PMC2686577  PMID: 18838390
19.  Calling on a million minds for community annotation in WikiProteins 
Genome Biology  2008;9(5):R89.
WikiProteins enables community annotation in a Wiki-based system. Extracts of major data sources have been fused into an editable environment that links out to the original sources. Data from community edits create automatic copies of the original data. Semantic technology captures concepts co-occurring in one sentence and thus potential factual statements. In addition, indirect associations between concepts have been calculated. We call on a 'million minds' to annotate a 'million concepts' and to collect facts from the literature with the reward of collaborative knowledge discovery. The system is available for beta testing at .
PMCID: PMC2441475  PMID: 18507872
20.  The 20 years of PROSITE 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;36(Database issue):D245-D249.
PROSITE consists of documentation entries describing protein domains, families and functional sites, as well as associated patterns and profiles to identify them. It is complemented by ProRule, a collection of rules based on profiles and patterns, which increases the discriminatory power of profiles and patterns by providing additional information about functionally and/or structurally critical amino acids. In this article, we describe the implementation of a new method to assign a status to pattern matches, the new PROSITE web page and a new approach to improve the specificity and sensitivity of PROSITE methods. The latest version of PROSITE (release 20.19 of 11 September 2007) contains 1319 patterns, 745 profiles and 764 ProRules. Over the past 2 years, about 200 domains have been added, and now 53% of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries (release 54.2 of 11 September 2007) have a PROSITE match. PROSITE is available on the web at:
PMCID: PMC2238851  PMID: 18003654
21.  New developments in the InterPro database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(Database issue):D224-D228.
InterPro is an integrated resource for protein families, domains and functional sites, which integrates the following protein signature databases: PROSITE, PRINTS, ProDom, Pfam, SMART, TIGRFAMs, PIRSF, SUPERFAMILY, Gene3D and PANTHER. The latter two new member databases have been integrated since the last publication in this journal. There have been several new developments in InterPro, including an additional reading field, new database links, extensions to the web interface and additional match XML files. InterPro has always provided matches to UniProtKB proteins on the website and in the match XML file on the FTP site. Additional matches to proteins in UniParc (UniProt archive) are now available for download in the new match XML files only. The latest InterPro release (13.0) contains more than 13 000 entries, covering over 78% of all proteins in UniProtKB. The database is available for text- and sequence-based searches via a webserver (), and for download by anonymous FTP (). The InterProScan search tool is now also available via a web service at .
PMCID: PMC1899100  PMID: 17202162
22.  ScanProsite: detection of PROSITE signature matches and ProRule-associated functional and structural residues in proteins 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(Web Server issue):W362-W365.
ScanProsite——is a new and improved version of the web-based tool for detecting PROSITE signature matches in protein sequences. For a number of PROSITE profiles, the tool now makes use of ProRules—context-dependent annotation templates—to detect functional and structural intra-domain residues. The detection of those features enhances the power of function prediction based on profiles. Both user-defined sequences and sequences from the UniProt Knowledgebase can be matched against custom patterns, or against PROSITE signatures. To improve response times, matches of sequences from UniProtKB against PROSITE signatures are now retrieved from a pre-computed match database. Several output modes are available including simple text views and a rich mode providing an interactive match and feature viewer with a graphical representation of results.
PMCID: PMC1538847  PMID: 16845026
23.  The PROSITE database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;34(Database issue):D227-D230.
The PROSITE database consists of a large collection of biologically meaningful signatures that are described as patterns or profiles. Each signature is linked to a documentation that provides useful biological information on the protein family, domain or functional site identified by the signature. The PROSITE database is now complemented by a series of rules that can give more precise information about specific residues. During the last 2 years, the documentation and the ScanProsite web pages were redesigned to add more functionalities. The latest version of PROSITE (release 19.11 of September 27, 2005) contains 1329 patterns and 552 profile entries. Over the past 2 years more than 200 domains have been added, and now 52% of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries (release 48.1 of September 27, 2005) have a cross-reference to a PROSITE entry. The database is accessible at .
PMCID: PMC1347426  PMID: 16381852
24.  The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt): an expanding universe of protein information 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;34(Database issue):D187-D191.
The Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) provides a central resource on protein sequences and functional annotation with three database components, each addressing a key need in protein bioinformatics. The UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProtKB), comprising the manually annotated UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot section and the automatically annotated UniProtKB/TrEMBL section, is the preeminent storehouse of protein annotation. The extensive cross-references, functional and feature annotations and literature-based evidence attribution enable scientists to analyse proteins and query across databases. The UniProt Reference Clusters (UniRef) speed similarity searches via sequence space compression by merging sequences that are 100% (UniRef100), 90% (UniRef90) or 50% (UniRef50) identical. Finally, the UniProt Archive (UniParc) stores all publicly available protein sequences, containing the history of sequence data with links to the source databases. UniProt databases continue to grow in size and in availability of information. Recent and upcoming changes to database contents, formats, controlled vocabularies and services are described. New download availability includes all major releases of UniProtKB, sequence collections by taxonomic division and complete proteomes. A bibliography mapping service has been added, and an ID mapping service will be available soon. UniProt databases can be accessed online at or downloaded at .
PMCID: PMC1347523  PMID: 16381842
25.  IntEnz, the integrated relational enzyme database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(Database issue):D434-D437.
IntEnz is the name for the Integrated relational Enzyme database and is the official version of the Enzyme Nomenclature. The Enzyme Nomenclature comprises recommendations of the Nomenclature Committee of the International Union of Bio chemistry and Molecular Biology (NC-IUBMB) on the nomenclature and classification of enzyme-catalysed reactions. IntEnz is supported by NC-IUBMB and contains enzyme data curated and approved by this committee. The database IntEnz is available at
PMCID: PMC308853  PMID: 14681451

Results 1-25 (39)