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1.  HOCTAR database: A unique resource for microRNA target prediction 
Gene  2011;480(1-2):51-58.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are the most abundant class of small RNAs in mammals. They play an important role in regulation of gene expression by inducing mRNA cleavage or translational inhibition. Each miRNA targets an average of 100–200 genes by binding, preferentially, to their 3′ UTRs by means of partial sequence complementarity. Most miRNAs are localized within transcriptional units, termed host genes, and show similar expression behavior with respect to their corresponding host genes. Considering the impact of miRNA in the regulation of gene expression and their involvement in a growing number of human disorders, it is vital to develop sensitive computational approaches able to identify miRNA target genes. The HOCTAR database (db) is a publicly available resource collecting ranked list of predicted target genes for 290 intragenic miRNAs annotated in human. HOCTARdb is a unique resource that integrates miRNA target prediction genes and transcriptomic data to score putative miRNA targets looking at the expression behavior of their host genes. We demonstrated, by testing 135 known validated target genes (either at the translational or transcriptional level) for different miRNAs, that the miRNA target prediction lists present in HOCTARdb are highly reliable. Moreover, HOCTARdb associates biological roles to each miRNA-controlled transcriptional network by means of Gene Ontology analysis. This information is easily accessible through a user-friendly query page. The HOCTARdb is available at We believe that a detailed relationship between miRNAs and their target genes and a constant update of the information contained in HOCTARdb will provide an extremely valuable resource to assist the researcher in the discovery of miRNA target genes.
PMCID: PMC3113163  PMID: 21435384
TFEB, transcription factor EB; HTT, huntingtin; TMEM49, transmembrane protein 49; AKT1, v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1; microRNA; Target prediction
2.  ParkDB: a Parkinson’s disease gene expression database 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common, adult-onset, neuro-degenerative disorder characterized by the degeneration of cardinal motor signs mainly due to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. To date, researchers still have limited understanding of the key molecular events that provoke neurodegeneration in this disease. Here, we present ParkDB, the first queryable database dedicated to gene expression in PD. ParkDB contains a complete set of re-analyzed, curated and annotated microarray datasets. This resource enables scientists to identify and compare expression signatures involved in PD and dopaminergic neuron differentiation under different biological conditions and across species.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3098727  PMID: 21593080
3.  The IKMC web portal: a central point of entry to data and resources from the International Knockout Mouse Consortium 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(Database issue):D849-D855.
The International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC) aims to mutate all protein-coding genes in the mouse using a combination of gene targeting and gene trapping in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and to make the generated resources readily available to the research community. The IKMC database and web portal ( serves as the central public web site for IKMC data and facilitates the coordination and prioritization of work within the consortium. Researchers can access up-to-date information on IKMC knockout vectors, ES cells and mice for specific genes, and follow links to the respective repositories from which corresponding IKMC products can be ordered. Researchers can also use the web site to nominate genes for targeting, or to indicate that targeting of a gene should receive high priority. The IKMC database provides data to, and features extensive interconnections with, other community databases.
PMCID: PMC3013768  PMID: 20929875
4.  CoGemiR: A comparative genomics microRNA database 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:457.
MicroRNAs are small highly conserved non-coding RNAs which play an important role in regulating gene expression by binding the 3'UTR of target mRNAs. The majority of microRNAs are localized within other transcriptional units (host genes) and are co-expressed with them, which strongly suggests that microRNAs and corresponding host genes use the same promoter and other expression control elements. The remaining fraction of microRNAs is intergenic and is endowed with an independent regulatory region. A number of databases have already been developed to collect information about microRNAs but none of them allow an easy exploration of microRNA genomic organization across evolution.
CoGemiR is a publicly available microRNA-centered database whose aim is to offer an overview of the genomic organization of microRNAs and of its extent of conservation during evolution in different metazoan species. The database collects information on genomic location, conservation and expression data of both known and newly predicted microRNAs and displays the data by privileging a comparative point of view. The database also includes a microRNA prediction pipeline to annotate microRNAs in recently sequenced genomes. This information is easily accessible via web through a user-friendly query page. The CoGemiR database is available at
The knowledge of the genomic organization of microRNAs can provide useful information to understand their biology. In order to have a comparative genomics overview of microRNAs genomic organization, we developed CoGemiR. To achieve this goal, we both collected and integrated data from pre-existing databases and generated new ones, such as the identification in several species of a number of previously unannotated microRNAs. For a more effective use of this data, we developed a user-friendly web interface that simply shows how a microRNA genomic context is related in different species.
PMCID: PMC2567348  PMID: 18837977
5.  ELM server: a new resource for investigating short functional sites in modular eukaryotic proteins 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(13):3625-3630.
Multidomain proteins predominate in eukaryotic proteomes. Individual functions assigned to different sequence segments combine to create a complex function for the whole protein. While on-line resources are available for revealing globular domains in sequences, there has hitherto been no comprehensive collection of small functional sites/motifs comparable to the globular domain resources, yet these are as important for the function of multidomain proteins. Short linear peptide motifs are used for cell compartment targeting, protein–protein interaction, regulation by phosphorylation, acetylation, glycosylation and a host of other post-translational modifications. ELM, the Eukaryotic Linear Motif server at, is a new bioinformatics resource for investigating candidate short non-globular functional motifs in eukaryotic proteins, aiming to fill the void in bioinformatics tools. Sequence comparisons with short motifs are difficult to evaluate because the usual significance assessments are inappropriate. Therefore the server is implemented with several logical filters to eliminate false positives. Current filters are for cell compartment, globular domain clash and taxonomic range. In favourable cases, the filters can reduce the number of retained matches by an order of magnitude or more.
PMCID: PMC168952  PMID: 12824381

Results 1-5 (5)