Admixed populations can make an important contribution to the discovery of disease susceptibility genes if the parental populations exhibit substantial variation in susceptibility. Admixture mapping has been used successfully, but is not designed to cope with populations that have more than two or three ancestral populations. The inference of admixture proportions and local ancestry and the imputation of missing genotypes in admixed populations are crucial in both understanding variation in disease and identifying novel disease loci. These inferences make use of reference populations, and accuracy depends on the choice of ancestral populations. Using an insufficient or inaccurate ancestral panel can result in erroneously inferred ancestry and affect the detection power of GWAS and meta-analysis when using imputation. Current algorithms are inadequate for multi-way admixed populations. To address these challenges we developed PROXYANC, an approach to select the best proxy ancestral populations. From the simulation of a multi-way admixed population we demonstrate the capability and accuracy of PROXYANC and illustrate the importance of the choice of ancestry in both estimating admixture proportions and imputing missing genotypes. We applied this approach to a complex, uniquely admixed South African population. Using genome-wide SNP data from over 764 individuals, we accurately estimate the genetic contributions from the best ancestral populations: isiXhosa , ‡Khomani SAN , European , Indian , and Chinese . We also demonstrate that the ancestral allele frequency differences correlate with increased linkage disequilibrium in the South African population, which originates from admixture events rather than population bottlenecks.
The collective term for people of mixed ancestry in southern Africa is “Coloured,” and this is officially recognized in South Africa as a census term, and for self-classification. Whilst we acknowledge that some cultures may use this term in a derogatory manner, these connotations are not present in South Africa, and are certainly not intended here.
Several approaches have been proposed for computing
term information content (IC) and semantic similarity scores
within the gene ontology (GO) directed acyclic graph (DAG).
These approaches contributed to improving protein analyses at
the functional level. Considering the recent proliferation of these
approaches, a unified theory in a well-defined mathematical
framework is necessary in order to provide a theoretical basis
for validating these approaches. We review the existing IC-based
ontological similarity approaches developed in the context
of biomedical and bioinformatics fields to propose a general
framework and unified description of all these measures. We
have conducted an experimental evaluation to assess the impact
of IC approaches, different normalization models, and correction
factors on the performance of a functional similarity metric.
Results reveal that considering only parents or only children of
terms when assessing information content or semantic similarity
scores negatively impacts the approach under consideration.
This study produces a unified framework for current and future
GO semantic similarity measures and provides theoretical basics
for comparing different approaches. The experimental evaluation
of different approaches based on different term information
content models paves the way towards a solution to the issue of scoring a term's specificity in the GO DAG.
The outcome of infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) depends greatly on how the host responds to the bacteria and how the bacteria manipulates the host, which is facilitated by protein–protein interactions. Thus, to understand this process, there is a need for elucidating protein interactions between human and Mtb, which may enable us to characterize specific molecular mechanisms allowing the bacteria to persist and survive under different environmental conditions. In this work, we used the interologs method based on experimentally verified intra-species and inter-species interactions to predict human-Mtb functional interactions. These interactions were further filtered using known human-Mtb interactions and genes that are differentially expressed during infection, producing 190 interactions. Further analysis of the subcellular location of proteins involved in these human-Mtb interactions confirms feasibility of these interactions. We also conducted functional analysis of human and Mtb proteins involved in these interactions, checking whether these proteins play a role in infection and/or disease, and enriching Mtb proteins in a previously predicted list of drug targets. We found that the biological processes of the human interacting proteins suggested their involvement in apoptosis and production of nitric oxide, whereas those of the Mtb interacting proteins were relevant to the intracellular environment of Mtb in the host. Mapping these proteins onto KEGG pathways highlighted proteins belonging to the tuberculosis pathway and also suggested that Mtb proteins might use the host to acquire nutrients, which is in agreement with the intracellular lifestyle of Mtb. This indicates that these interactions can shed light on the interplay between Mtb and its human host and thus, contribute to the process of designing novel drugs with new biological mechanisms of action.
The mountains of data thrusting from the new landscape of modern high-throughput biology are irrevocably changing biomedical research and creating a near-insatiable demand for training in data management and manipulation and data mining and analysis. Among life scientists, from clinicians to environmental researchers, a common theme is the need not just to use, and gain familiarity with, bioinformatics tools and resources but also to understand their underlying fundamental theoretical and practical concepts. Providing bioinformatics training to empower life scientists to handle and analyse their data efficiently, and progress their research, is a challenge across the globe. Delivering good training goes beyond traditional lectures and resource-centric demos, using interactivity, problem-solving exercises and cooperative learning to substantially enhance training quality and learning outcomes. In this context, this article discusses various pragmatic criteria for identifying training needs and learning objectives, for selecting suitable trainees and trainers, for developing and maintaining training skills and evaluating training quality. Adherence to these criteria may help not only to guide course organizers and trainers on the path towards bioinformatics training excellence but, importantly, also to improve the training experience for life scientists.
bioinformatics; training; bioinformatics courses; training life scientists; train the trainers
Summary: We present iAnn, an open source community-driven platform for dissemination of life science events, such as courses, conferences and workshops. iAnn allows automatic visualisation and integration of customised event reports. A central repository lies at the core of the platform: curators add submitted events, and these are subsequently accessed via web services. Thus, once an iAnn widget is incorporated into a website, it permanently shows timely relevant information as if it were native to the remote site. At the same time, announcements submitted to the repository are automatically disseminated to all portals that query the system. To facilitate the visualization of announcements, iAnn provides powerful filtering options and views, integrated in Google Maps and Google Calendar. All iAnn widgets are freely available.
Measles virus (MV) causes T cell suppression by interference with phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activation. We previously found that this interference affected the activity of splice regulatory proteins and a T cell inhibitory protein isoform was produced from an alternatively spliced pre-mRNA.
Differentially regulated and alternatively splice variant transcripts accumulating in response to PI3K abrogation in T cells potentially encode proteins involved in T cell silencing.
To test this hypothesis at the cellular level, we performed a Human Exon 1.0 ST Array on RNAs isolated from T cells stimulated only or stimulated after PI3K inhibition. We developed a simple algorithm based on a splicing index to detect genes that undergo alternative splicing (AS) or are differentially regulated (RG) upon T cell suppression.
Applying our algorithm to the data, 9% of the genes were assigned as AS, while only 3% were attributed to RG. Though there are overlaps, AS and RG genes differed with regard to functional regulation, and were found to be enriched in different functional groups. AS genes targeted extracellular matrix (ECM)-receptor interaction and focal adhesion pathways, while RG genes were mainly enriched in cytokine-receptor interaction and Jak-STAT. When combined, AS/RG dependent alterations targeted pathways essential for T cell receptor signaling, cytoskeletal dynamics and cell cycle entry.
PI3K abrogation interferes with key T cell activation processes through both differential expression and alternative splicing, which together actively contribute to T cell suppression.
A large number of diverse, complex, and distributed data resources are currently available in the Bioinformatics domain. The pace of discovery and the diversity of information means that centralised reference databases like UniProt and Ensembl cannot integrate all potentially relevant information sources. From a user perspective however, centralised access to all relevant information concerning a specific query is essential. The Distributed Annotation System (DAS) defines a communication protocol to exchange annotations on genomic and protein sequences; this standardisation enables clients to retrieve data from a myriad of sources, thus offering centralised access to end-users.
We introduce MyDas, a web server that facilitates the publishing of biological annotations according to the DAS specification. It deals with the common functionality requirements of making data available, while also providing an extension mechanism in order to implement the specifics of data store interaction. MyDas allows the user to define where the required information is located along with its structure, and is then responsible for the communication protocol details.
The wide coverage and biological relevance of the Gene Ontology (GO), confirmed through its successful use in protein function prediction, have led to the growth in its popularity. In order to exploit the extent of biological knowledge that GO offers in describing genes or groups of genes, there is a need for an efficient, scalable similarity measure for GO terms and GO-annotated proteins. While several GO similarity measures exist, none adequately addresses all issues surrounding the design and usage of the ontology. We introduce a new metric for measuring the distance between two GO terms using the intrinsic topology of the GO-DAG, thus enabling the measurement of functional similarities between proteins based on their GO annotations. We assess the performance of this metric using a ROC analysis on human protein-protein interaction datasets and correlation coefficient analysis on the selected set of protein pairs from the CESSM online tool. This metric achieves good performance compared to the existing annotation-based GO measures. We used this new metric to assess functional similarity between orthologues, and show that it is effective at determining whether orthologues are annotated with similar functions and identifying cases where annotation is inconsistent between orthologues.
InterPro amalgamates predictive protein signatures from a number of well-known partner databases into a single resource. To aid with interpretation of results, InterPro entries are manually annotated with terms from the Gene Ontology (GO). The InterPro2GO mappings are comprised of the cross-references between these two resources and are the largest source of GO annotation predictions for proteins. Here, we describe the protocol by which InterPro curators integrate GO terms into the InterPro database. We discuss the unique challenges involved in integrating specific GO terms with entries that may describe a diverse set of proteins, and we illustrate, with examples, how InterPro hierarchies reflect GO terms of increasing specificity. We describe a revised protocol for GO mapping that enables us to assign GO terms to domains based on the function of the individual domain, rather than the function of the families in which the domain is found. We also discuss how taxonomic constraints are dealt with and those cases where we are unable to add any appropriate GO terms. Expert manual annotation of InterPro entries with GO terms enables users to infer function, process or subcellular information for uncharacterized sequences based on sequence matches to predictive models.
http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro. The complete InterPro2GO mappings are available at: ftp://ftp.ebi.ac.uk/pub/databases/GO/goa/external2go/interpro2go
Technological developments in large-scale biological experiments, coupled with bioinformatics tools, have opened the doors to computational approaches for the global analysis of whole genomes. This has provided the opportunity to look at genes within their context in the cell. The integration of vast
amounts of data generated by these technologies provides a strategy for identifying potential drug targets
within microbial pathogens, the causative agents of infectious diseases. As proteins are druggable targets,
functional interaction networks between proteins are used to identify proteins essential to the survival,
growth, and virulence of these microbial pathogens. Here we have integrated functional genomics data to
generate functional interaction networks between Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteins and carried out computational analyses to dissect the functional interaction network produced for identifying drug targets
using network topological properties. This study has provided the opportunity to expand the range of potential drug targets and to move towards optimal target-based strategies.
InterPro (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro/) is a database that integrates diverse information about protein families, domains and functional sites, and makes it freely available to the public via Web-based interfaces and services. Central to the database are diagnostic models, known as signatures, against which protein sequences can be searched to determine their potential function. InterPro has utility in the large-scale analysis of whole genomes and meta-genomes, as well as in characterizing individual protein sequences. Herein we give an overview of new developments in the database and its associated software since 2009, including updates to database content, curation processes and Web and programmatic interfaces.
The Distributed Annotation System (DAS) is a protocol for easy sharing and integration of biological annotations. In order to visualize feature annotations in a genomic context a client is required. Here we present myKaryoView, a simple light-weight DAS tool for visualization of genomic annotation. myKaryoView has been specifically configured to help analyse data derived from personal genomics, although it can also be used as a generic genome browser visualization. Several well-known data sources are provided to facilitate comparison of known genes and normal variation regions. The navigation experience is enhanced by simultaneous rendering of different levels of detail across chromosomes. A simple interface is provided to allow searches for any SNP, gene or chromosomal region. User-defined DAS data sources may also be added when querying the system. We demonstrate myKaryoView capabilities for adding user-defined sources with a set of genetic profiles of family-related individuals downloaded directly from 23andMe. myKaryoView is a web tool for visualization of genomic data specifically designed for direct-to-consumer genomic data that uses publicly available data distributed throughout the Internet. It does not require data to be held locally and it is capable of rendering any feature as long as it conforms to DAS specifications. Configuration and addition of sources to myKaryoView can be done through the interface. Here we show a proof of principle of myKaryoView's ability to display personal genomics data with 23andMe genome data sources. The tool is available at: http://mykaryoview.com.
Motivation: Dasty3 is a highly interactive and extensible Web-based framework. It provides a rich Application Programming Interface upon which it is possible to develop specialized clients capable of retrieving information from DAS sources as well as from data providers not using the DAS protocol. Dasty3 provides significant improvements on previous Web-based frameworks and is implemented using the 1.6 DAS specification.
Availability: Dasty3 is an open-source tool freely available at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/dasty/ under the terms of the GNU General public license. Source and documentation can be found at http://code.google.com/p/dasty/.
Motivation: Current gene set enrichment approaches do not take interactions and associations between set members into account. Mutual activation and inhibition causing positive and negative correlation among set members are thus neglected. As a consequence, inconsistent regulations and contextless expression changes are reported and, thus, the biological interpretation of the result is impeded.
Results: We analyzed established gene set enrichment methods and their result sets in a large-scale investigation of 1000 expression datasets. The reported statistically significant gene sets exhibit only average consistency between the observed patterns of differential expression and known regulatory interactions. We present Gene Graph Enrichment Analysis (GGEA) to detect consistently and coherently enriched gene sets, based on prior knowledge derived from directed gene regulatory networks. Firstly, GGEA improves the concordance of pairwise regulation with individual expression changes in respective pairs of regulating and regulated genes, compared with set enrichment methods. Secondly, GGEA yields result sets where a large fraction of relevant expression changes can be explained by nearby regulators, such as transcription factors, again improving on set-based methods. Thirdly, we demonstrate in additional case studies that GGEA can be applied to human regulatory pathways, where it sensitively detects very specific regulation processes, which are altered in tumors of the central nervous system. GGEA significantly increases the detection of gene sets where measured positively or negatively correlated expression patterns coincide with directed inducing or repressing relationships, thus facilitating further interpretation of gene expression data.
Availability: The method and accompanying visualization capabilities have been bundled into an R package and tied to a grahical user interface, the Galaxy workflow environment, that is running as a web server.
Contact: Ludwig.Geistlinger@bio.ifi.lmu.de; Ralf.Zimmer@bio.ifi.lmu.de
Centralised resources such as GenBank and UniProt are perfect examples of the major international efforts that have been made to integrate and share biological information. However, additional data that adds value to these resources needs a simple and rapid route to public access. The Distributed Annotation System (DAS) provides an adequate environment to integrate genomic and proteomic information from multiple sources, making this information accessible to the community. DAS offers a way to distribute and access information but it does not provide domain experts with the mechanisms to participate in the curation process of the available biological entities and their annotations.
We designed and developed a Collaborative Annotation System for proteins called DAS Writeback. DAS writeback is a protocol extension of DAS to provide the functionalities of adding, editing and deleting annotations. We implemented this new specification as extensions of both a DAS server and a DAS client. The architecture was designed with the involvement of the DAS community and it was improved after performing usability experiments emulating a real annotation task.
We demonstrate that DAS Writeback is effective, usable and will provide the appropriate environment for the creation and evolution of community protein annotation.
The abundance of diverse biological data from various sources constitutes a rich source of knowledge, which has the power to advance our understanding of organisms. This requires computational methods in order to integrate and exploit these data effectively and elucidate local and genome wide functional connections between protein pairs, thus enabling functional inferences for uncharacterized proteins. These biological data are primarily in the form of sequences, which determine functions, although functional properties of a protein can often be predicted from just the domains it contains. Thus, protein sequences and domains can be used to predict protein pair-wise functional relationships, and thus contribute to the function prediction process of uncharacterized proteins in order to ensure that knowledge is gained from sequencing efforts. In this work, we introduce information-theoretic based approaches to score protein-protein functional interaction pairs predicted from protein sequence similarity and conserved protein signature matches. The proposed schemes are effective for data-driven scoring of connections between protein pairs. We applied these schemes to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteome to produce a homology-based functional network of the organism with a high confidence and coverage. We use the network for predicting functions of uncharacterised proteins.
Protein pair-wise functional relationship scores for Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain CDC1551 sequence data and python scripts to compute these scores are available at http://web.cbio.uct.ac.za/~gmazandu/scoringschemes.
In order to interpret the results obtained from a microarray experiment, researchers often shift focus from analysis of individual differentially expressed genes to analyses of sets of genes. These gene-set analysis (GSA) methods use previously accumulated biological knowledge to group genes into sets and then aim to rank these gene sets in a way that reflects their relative importance in the experimental situation in question. We suspect that the presence of paralogs affects the ability of GSA methods to accurately identify the most important sets of genes for subsequent research.
We show that paralogs, which typically have high sequence identity and similar molecular functions, also exhibit high correlation in their expression patterns. We investigate this correlation as a potential confounding factor common to current GSA methods using Indygene http://www.cbio.uct.ac.za/indygene, a web tool that reduces a supplied list of genes so that it includes no pairwise paralogy relationships above a specified sequence similarity threshold. We use the tool to reanalyse previously published microarray datasets and determine the potential utility of accounting for the presence of paralogs.
The Indygene tool efficiently removes paralogy relationships from a given dataset and we found that such a reduction, performed prior to GSA, has the ability to generate significantly different results that often represent novel and plausible biological hypotheses. This was demonstrated for three different GSA approaches when applied to the reanalysis of previously published microarray datasets and suggests that the redundancy and non-independence of paralogs is an important consideration when dealing with GSA methodologies.
We consider the problem of biological complexity via a projection of protein-coding genes of complex organisms onto the functional space of the proteome. The latter can be defined as a set of all functions committed by proteins of an organism. Alternative splicing (AS) allows an organism to generate diverse mature RNA transcripts from a single mRNA strand and thus it could be one of the key mechanisms of increasing of functional complexity of the organism's proteome and a driving force of biological evolution. Thus, the projection of transcription units (TU) and alternative splice-variant (SV) forms onto proteome functional space could generate new types of relational networks (e.g. SV-protein function networks, SFN) and lead to discoveries of novel evolutionarily conservative functional modules. Such types of networks might provide new reliable characteristics of organism complexity and a better understanding of the evolutionary integration and plasticity of interconnection of genome-transcriptome-proteome functions.
We use the InterPro and UniProt databases to attribute descriptive features (keywords) to protein sequences. UniProt database includes a controlled and curated vocabulary of specific descriptors or keywords. The keywords have been assigned to a protein sequence via conserved domains or via similarity with annotated sequences. Then we consider the unique combinations of keywords as the protein functional labels (FL), which characterize the biological functions of the given protein and construct the contingency tables and graphs providing the projections of transcription units (TU) and alternative splice-variants (SV) onto all FL of the proteome of a given organism. We constructed SFNs for organisms with different evolutionary history and levels of complexity, and performed detailed statistical parameterization of the networks.
The application of the algorithm to organisms with different evolutionary history and level of biological complexity (nematode, fruit fly, vertebrata) reveals that the parameters describing SFN correlate with the complexity of a given organism. Using statistical analysis of the links of the functional networks, we propose new features of evolution of protein function acquisition. We reveal a group of genes and corresponding functions, which could be attributed to an early conservative part of the cellular machinery essential for cell viability and survival. We identify and provide characteristics of functional switches in the polyform group of TUs in different organisms. Based on comparison of mouse and human SFNs, a role of alternative splicing as a necessary source of evolution towards more complex organisms is demonstrated.
The entire set of FL across many organisms could be used as a draft of the catalogue of the functional space of the proteome world.
The InterPro database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro/) 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 (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/InterProScan/).
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 .
The Proteome Analysis database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/proteome/) has been developed by the Sequence Database Group at EBI utilizing existing resources and providing comparative analysis of the predicted protein coding sequences of the complete genomes of bacteria, archeae and eukaryotes. Three main projects are used, InterPro, CluSTr and GO Slim, to give an overview on families, domains, sites, and functions of the proteins from each of the complete genomes. Complete proteome analysis is available for a total of 89 proteome sets. A specifically designed application enables InterPro proteome comparisons for any one proteome against any other one or more of the proteomes in the database.
As the amount of biological data grows, so does the need for biologists to store and access this information in central repositories in a free and unambiguous manner. The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) hosts six core databases, which store information on DNA sequences (EMBL-Bank), protein sequences (SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL), protein structure (MSD), whole genomes (Ensembl) and gene expression (ArrayExpress). But just as a cell would be useless if it couldn't transcribe DNA or translate RNA, our resources would be compromised if each existed in isolation. We have therefore developed a range of tools that not only facilitate the deposition and retrieval of biological information, but also allow users to carry out searches that reflect the interconnectedness of biological information. The EBI's databases and tools are all available on our website at www.ebi.ac.uk.
InterPro, an integrated documentation resource of protein families, domains and functional sites, was created in 1999 as a means of amalgamating the major protein signature databases into one comprehensive resource. PROSITE, Pfam, PRINTS, ProDom, SMART and TIGRFAMs have been manually integrated and curated and are available in InterPro for text- and sequence-based searching. The results are provided in a single format that rationalises the results that would be obtained by searching the member databases individually. The latest release of InterPro contains 5629 entries describing 4280 families, 1239 domains, 95 repeats and 15 post-translational modifications. Currently, the combined signatures in InterPro cover more than 74% of all proteins in SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL, an increase of nearly 15% since the inception of InterPro. New features of the database include improved searching capabilities and enhanced graphical user interfaces for visualisation of the data. The database is available via a webserver (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro) and anonymous FTP (ftp://ftp.ebi.ac.uk/pub/databases/interpro).
With the large influx of raw sequence data from genome sequencing projects, there is a need for reliable automatic methods for protein sequence analysis and classification. The most useful tools use various methods for identifying motifs or domains found in previously characterized protein families. This article reviews the tools and resources available on the web for identifying signatures within proteins and discusses how they may be used in the analysis of new or unknown protein sequences.