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1.  UniCarbKB: building a knowledge platform for glycoproteomics 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(D1):D215-D221.
The UniCarb KnowledgeBase (UniCarbKB; offers public access to a growing, curated database of information on the glycan structures of glycoproteins. UniCarbKB is an international effort that aims to further our understanding of structures, pathways and networks involved in glycosylation and glyco-mediated processes by integrating structural, experimental and functional glycoscience information. This initiative builds upon the success of the glycan structure database GlycoSuiteDB, together with the informatic standards introduced by EUROCarbDB, to provide a high-quality and updated resource to support glycomics and glycoproteomics research. UniCarbKB provides comprehensive information concerning glycan structures, and published glycoprotein information including global and site-specific attachment information. For the first release over 890 references, 3740 glycan structure entries and 400 glycoproteins have been curated. Further, 598 protein glycosylation sites have been annotated with experimentally confirmed glycan structures from the literature. Among these are 35 glycoproteins, 502 structures and 60 publications previously not included in GlycoSuiteDB. This article provides an update on the transformation of GlycoSuiteDB (featured in previous NAR Database issues and hosted by ExPASy since 2009) to UniCarbKB and its integration with UniProtKB and GlycoMod. Here, we introduce a refactored database, supported by substantial new curated data collections and intuitive user-interfaces that improve database searching.
PMCID: PMC3964942  PMID: 24234447
2.  ExPASy: SIB bioinformatics resource portal 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(Web Server issue):W597-W603.
ExPASy ( has worldwide reputation as one of the main bioinformatics resources for proteomics. It has now evolved, becoming an extensible and integrative portal accessing many scientific resources, databases and software tools in different areas of life sciences. Scientists can henceforth access seamlessly a wide range of resources in many different domains, such as proteomics, genomics, phylogeny/evolution, systems biology, population genetics, transcriptomics, etc. The individual resources (databases, web-based and downloadable software tools) are hosted in a ‘decentralized’ way by different groups of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and partner institutions. Specifically, a single web portal provides a common entry point to a wide range of resources developed and operated by different SIB groups and external institutions. The portal features a search function across ‘selected’ resources. Additionally, the availability and usage of resources are monitored. The portal is aimed for both expert users and people who are not familiar with a specific domain in life sciences. The new web interface provides, in particular, visual guidance for newcomers to ExPASy.
PMCID: PMC3394269  PMID: 22661580
3.  Identification of arginine- and lysine-methylation in the proteome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its functional implications 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:92.
The methylation of eukaryotic proteins has been proposed to be widespread, but this has not been conclusively shown to date. In this study, we examined 36,854 previously generated peptide mass spectra from 2,607 Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins for the presence of arginine and lysine methylation. This was done using the FindMod tool and 5 filters that took advantage of the high number of replicate analysis per protein and the presence of overlapping peptides.
A total of 83 high-confidence lysine and arginine methylation sites were found in 66 proteins. Motif analysis revealed many methylated sites were associated with MK, RGG/RXG/RGX or WXXXR motifs. Functionally, methylated proteins were significantly enriched for protein translation, ribosomal biogenesis and assembly and organellar organisation and were predominantly found in the cytoplasm and ribosome. Intriguingly, methylated proteins were seen to have significantly longer half-life than proteins for which no methylation was found. Some 43% of methylated lysine sites were predicted to be amenable to ubiquitination, suggesting methyl-lysine might block the action of ubiquitin ligase.
This study suggests protein methylation to be quite widespread, albeit associated with specific functions. Large-scale tandem mass spectroscopy analyses will help to further confirm the modifications reported here.
PMCID: PMC2830191  PMID: 20137074
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  UniProt: the Universal Protein knowledgebase 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(Database issue):D115-D119.
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 ( or downloaded in several formats ( The scientific community is encouraged to submit data for inclusion in UniProt.
PMCID: PMC308865  PMID: 14681372
8.  ExPASy: the proteomics server for in-depth protein knowledge and analysis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(13):3784-3788.
The ExPASy (the Expert Protein Analysis System) World Wide Web server (, is provided as a service to the life science community by a multidisciplinary team at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). It provides access to a variety of databases and analytical tools dedicated to proteins and proteomics. ExPASy databases include SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL, SWISS-2DPAGE, PROSITE, ENZYME and the SWISS-MODEL repository. Analysis tools are available for specific tasks relevant to proteomics, similarity searches, pattern and profile searches, post-translational modification prediction, topology prediction, primary, secondary and tertiary structure analysis and sequence alignment. These databases and tools are tightly interlinked: a special emphasis is placed on integration of database entries with related resources developed at the SIB and elsewhere, and the proteomics tools have been designed to read the annotations in SWISS-PROT in order to enhance their predictions. ExPASy started to operate in 1993, as the first WWW server in the field of life sciences. In addition to the main site in Switzerland, seven mirror sites in different continents currently serve the user community.
PMCID: PMC168970  PMID: 12824418
9.  The SWISS-PROT protein knowledgebase and its supplement TrEMBL in 2003 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(1):365-370.
The SWISS-PROT protein knowledgebase ( and connects amino acid sequences with the current knowledge in the Life Sciences. Each protein entry provides an interdisciplinary overview of relevant information by bringing together experimental results, computed features and sometimes even contradictory conclusions. Detailed expertise that goes beyond the scope of SWISS-PROT is made available via direct links to specialised databases. SWISS-PROT provides annotated entries for all species, but concentrates on the annotation of entries from human (the HPI project) and other model organisms to ensure the presence of high quality annotation for representative members of all protein families. Part of the annotation can be transferred to other family members, as is already done for microbes by the High-quality Automated and Manual Annotation of microbial Proteomes (HAMAP) project. Protein families and groups of proteins are regularly reviewed to keep up with current scientific findings. Complementarily, TrEMBL strives to comprise all protein sequences that are not yet represented in SWISS-PROT, by incorporating a perpetually increasing level of mostly automated annotation. Researchers are welcome to contribute their knowledge to the scientific community by submitting relevant findings to SWISS-PROT at
PMCID: PMC165542  PMID: 12520024

Results 1-9 (9)