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1.  A travel guide to Cytoscape plugins 
Nature methods  2012;9(11):1069-1076.
Cytoscape is open-source software for integration, visualization and analysis of biological networks. It can be extended through Cytoscape plugins, enabling a broad community of scientists to contribute useful features. This growth has occurred organically through the independent efforts of diverse authors, yielding a powerful but heterogeneous set of tools. We present a travel guide to the world of plugins, covering the 152 publicly available plugins for Cytoscape 2.5–2.8. We also describe ongoing efforts to distribute, organize and maintain the quality of the collection.
PMCID: PMC3649846  PMID: 23132118
2.  Cytoscape 2.8: new features for data integration and network visualization 
Bioinformatics  2010;27(3):431-432.
Summary: Cytoscape is a popular bioinformatics package for biological network visualization and data integration. Version 2.8 introduces two powerful new features—Custom Node Graphics and Attribute Equations—which can be used jointly to greatly enhance Cytoscape's data integration and visualization capabilities. Custom Node Graphics allow an image to be projected onto a node, including images generated dynamically or at remote locations. Attribute Equations provide Cytoscape with spreadsheet-like functionality in which the value of an attribute is computed dynamically as a function of other attributes and network properties.
Availability and implementation: Cytoscape is a desktop Java application released under the Library Gnu Public License (LGPL). Binary install bundles and source code for Cytoscape 2.8 are available for download from
PMCID: PMC3031041  PMID: 21149340
3.  Improving pairwise sequence alignment accuracy using near-optimal protein sequence alignments 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:146.
While the pairwise alignments produced by sequence similarity searches are a powerful tool for identifying homologous proteins - proteins that share a common ancestor and a similar structure; pairwise sequence alignments often fail to represent accurately the structural alignments inferred from three-dimensional coordinates. Since sequence alignment algorithms produce optimal alignments, the best structural alignments must reflect suboptimal sequence alignment scores. Thus, we have examined a range of suboptimal sequence alignments and a range of scoring parameters to understand better which sequence alignments are likely to be more structurally accurate.
We compared near-optimal protein sequence alignments produced by the Zuker algorithm and a set of probabilistic alignments produced by the probA program with structural alignments produced by four different structure alignment algorithms. There is significant overlap between the solution spaces of structural alignments and both the near-optimal sequence alignments produced by commonly used scoring parameters for sequences that share significant sequence similarity (E-values < 10-5) and the ensemble of probA alignments. We constructed a logistic regression model incorporating three input variables derived from sets of near-optimal alignments: robustness, edge frequency, and maximum bits-per-position. A ROC analysis shows that this model more accurately classifies amino acid pairs (edges in the alignment path graph) according to the likelihood of appearance in structural alignments than the robustness score alone. We investigated various trimming protocols for removing incorrect edges from the optimal sequence alignment; the most effective protocol is to remove matches from the semi-global optimal alignment that are outside the boundaries of the local alignment, although trimming according to the model-generated probabilities achieves a similar level of improvement. The model can also be used to generate novel alignments by using the probabilities in lieu of a scoring matrix. These alignments are typically better than the optimal sequence alignment, and include novel correct structural edges. We find that the probA alignments sample a larger variety of alignments than the Zuker set, which more frequently results in alignments that are closer to the structural alignments, but that using the probA alignments as input to the regression model does not increase performance.
The pool of suboptimal pairwise protein sequence alignments substantially overlaps structure-based alignments for pairs with statistically significant similarity, and a regression model based on information contained in this alignment pool improves the accuracy of pairwise alignments with respect to structure-based alignments.
PMCID: PMC2850363  PMID: 20307279
4.  Visualization of near-optimal sequence alignments 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2004;20(6):953-958.
Mathematically optimal alignments do not always properly align active site residues or well-recognized structural elements. Most near-optimal sequence alignment algorithms display alternative alignment paths, rather than the conventional residue-by-residue pairwise alignment. Typically, these methods do not provide mechanisms for finding effectively the most biologically meaningful alignment in the potentially large set of options.
We have developed Web-based software that displays near optimal or alternative alignments of two protein or DNA sequences as a continuous moving picture. A WWW interface to a C++ program generates near optimal alignments, which are sent to a Java Applet, which displays them in a series of alignment frames. The Applet aligns residues so that consistently aligned regions remain at a fixed position on the display, while variable regions move. The display can be stopped to examine alignment details.
Available at noptalign. For source code contact the authors at
PMCID: PMC2836811  PMID: 14751975

Results 1-4 (4)