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1.  The 3rd DBCLS BioHackathon: improving life science data integration with Semantic Web technologies 
Background
BioHackathon 2010 was the third in a series of meetings hosted by the Database Center for Life Sciences (DBCLS) in Tokyo, Japan. The overall goal of the BioHackathon series is to improve the quality and accessibility of life science research data on the Web by bringing together representatives from public databases, analytical tool providers, and cyber-infrastructure researchers to jointly tackle important challenges in the area of in silico biological research.
Results
The theme of BioHackathon 2010 was the 'Semantic Web', and all attendees gathered with the shared goal of producing Semantic Web data from their respective resources, and/or consuming or interacting those data using their tools and interfaces. We discussed on topics including guidelines for designing semantic data and interoperability of resources. We consequently developed tools and clients for analysis and visualization.
Conclusion
We provide a meeting report from BioHackathon 2010, in which we describe the discussions, decisions, and breakthroughs made as we moved towards compliance with Semantic Web technologies - from source provider, through middleware, to the end-consumer.
doi:10.1186/2041-1480-4-6
PMCID: PMC3598643  PMID: 23398680
BioHackathon; Open source; Software; Semantic Web; Databases; Data integration; Data visualization; Web services; Interfaces
2.  The 2nd DBCLS BioHackathon: interoperable bioinformatics Web services for integrated applications 
Background
The interaction between biological researchers and the bioinformatics tools they use is still hampered by incomplete interoperability between such tools. To ensure interoperability initiatives are effectively deployed, end-user applications need to be aware of, and support, best practices and standards. Here, we report on an initiative in which software developers and genome biologists came together to explore and raise awareness of these issues: BioHackathon 2009.
Results
Developers in attendance came from diverse backgrounds, with experts in Web services, workflow tools, text mining and visualization. Genome biologists provided expertise and exemplar data from the domains of sequence and pathway analysis and glyco-informatics. One goal of the meeting was to evaluate the ability to address real world use cases in these domains using the tools that the developers represented. This resulted in i) a workflow to annotate 100,000 sequences from an invertebrate species; ii) an integrated system for analysis of the transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) enriched based on differential gene expression data obtained from a microarray experiment; iii) a workflow to enumerate putative physical protein interactions among enzymes in a metabolic pathway using protein structure data; iv) a workflow to analyze glyco-gene-related diseases by searching for human homologs of glyco-genes in other species, such as fruit flies, and retrieving their phenotype-annotated SNPs.
Conclusions
Beyond deriving prototype solutions for each use-case, a second major purpose of the BioHackathon was to highlight areas of insufficiency. We discuss the issues raised by our exploration of the problem/solution space, concluding that there are still problems with the way Web services are modeled and annotated, including: i) the absence of several useful data or analysis functions in the Web service "space"; ii) the lack of documentation of methods; iii) lack of compliance with the SOAP/WSDL specification among and between various programming-language libraries; and iv) incompatibility between various bioinformatics data formats. Although it was still difficult to solve real world problems posed to the developers by the biological researchers in attendance because of these problems, we note the promise of addressing these issues within a semantic framework.
doi:10.1186/2041-1480-2-4
PMCID: PMC3170566  PMID: 21806842
3.  Experience using web services for biological sequence analysis 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2008;9(6):493-505.
Programmatic access to data and tools through the web using so-called web services has an important role to play in bioinformatics. In this article, we discuss the most popular approaches based on SOAP/WS-I and REST and describe our, a cross section of the community, experiences with providing and using web services in the context of biological sequence analysis. We briefly review main technological approaches as well as best practice hints that are useful for both users and developers. Finally, syntactic and semantic data integration issues with multiple web services are discussed.
doi:10.1093/bib/bbn029
PMCID: PMC2989672  PMID: 18621748
web services; SOAP; REST; internet technologies; sequence analysis
4.  A tree-based conservation scoring method for short linear motifs in multiple alignments of protein sequences 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:229.
Background
The structure of many eukaryotic cell regulatory proteins is highly modular. They are assembled from globular domains, segments of natively disordered polypeptides and short linear motifs. The latter are involved in protein interactions and formation of regulatory complexes. The function of such proteins, which may be difficult to define, is the aggregate of the subfunctions of the modules. It is therefore desirable to efficiently predict linear motifs with some degree of accuracy, yet sequence database searches return results that are not significant.
Results
We have developed a method for scoring the conservation of linear motif instances. It requires only primary sequence-derived information (e.g. multiple alignment and sequence tree) and takes into account the degenerate nature of linear motif patterns. On our benchmarking, the method accurately scores 86% of the known positive instances, while distinguishing them from random matches in 78% of the cases. The conservation score is implemented as a real time application designed to be integrated into other tools. It is currently accessible via a Web Service or through a graphical interface.
Conclusion
The conservation score improves the prediction of linear motifs, by discarding those matches that are unlikely to be functional because they have not been conserved during the evolution of the protein sequences. It is especially useful for instances in non-structured regions of the proteins, where a domain masking filtering strategy is not applicable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-229
PMCID: PMC2396637  PMID: 18460207
5.  Priorities for nucleotide trace, sequence and annotation data capture at the Ensembl Trace Archive and the EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;36(Database issue):D5-D12.
The Ensembl Trace Archive (http://trace.ensembl.org/) and the EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/embl/), known together as the European Nucleotide Archive, continue to see growth in data volume and diversity. Selected major developments of 2007 are presented briefly, along with data submission and retrieval information. In the face of increasing requirements for nucleotide trace, sequence and annotation data archiving, data capture priority decisions have been taken at the European Nucleotide Archive. Priorities are discussed in terms of how reliably information can be captured, the long-term benefits of its capture and the ease with which it can be captured.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm1018
PMCID: PMC2238915  PMID: 18039715
6.  Web Services at the European Bioinformatics Institute 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(Web Server issue):W6-W11.
We present a new version of the European Bioinformatics Institute Web Services, a complete suite of SOAP-based web tools for structural and functional analysis, with new and improved applications. New functionality has been added to most of the services already available, and an improved version of the underlying framework has allowed us to include more applications.
Information on the EBI Web Services, tutorials and clients can be found at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/webservices.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm291
PMCID: PMC1933145  PMID: 17576686
7.  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 .
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl841
PMCID: PMC1899100  PMID: 17202162

Results 1-7 (7)