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Concept: Bioinformatics databases


Heat shock protein information resource (HSPIR) is a concerted database of six major heat shock proteins (HSPs), namely, Hsp70, Hsp40, Hsp60, Hsp90, Hsp100 and small HSP. The HSPs are essential for the survival of all living organisms, as they protect the conformations of proteins on exposure to various stress conditions. They are a highly conserved group of proteins involved in diverse physiological functions, including de novo folding, disaggregation and protein trafficking. Moreover, their critical role in the control of disease progression made them a prime target of research. Presently, limited information is available on HSPs in reference to their identification and structural classification across genera. To that extent, HSPIR provides manually curated information on sequence, structure, classification, ontology, domain organization, localization and possible biological functions extracted from UniProt, GenBank, Protein Data Bank and the literature. The database offers interactive search with incorporated tools, which enhances the analysis. HSPIR is a reliable resource for researchers exploring structure, function and evolution of HSPs.

Concepts: DNA, Protein structure, Gene, Biology, Organism, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Bioinformatics databases


Both floral development and evolutionary trends of orchid flowers has long attracted the interest of biologists. However, expressed sequences derived from the flowers of other orchid subfamilies are still scarce except few species in Epidendroideae. For broadly increasing our scope on Orchidaceae genetic information, we updated the OrchidBase to version 2.0 which newly added 1,562,071 floral non-redundant transcribed sequences (unigenes) collected comprehensively from ten orchid species across five subfamilies of Orchidaceae. Total 662,671,362 reads were obtained by using next generation sequencing (NGS) Solexa Illumina sequencers. After assembly, in average 156,207 unigenes were generated for each species. The average length of unigene is 347 bp. We made detailed annotation including general information, relative expression level, gene ontology (GO), KEGG pathway mapping, and gene network prediction. The online resources for putative annotation can be searched either by text or by using BLAST, and the results can be explored on the website and downloaded. We have re-designed the user interface in the new version. Users can enter Phalaenopsis transcriptome or Orchidaceae floral transcriptome to browse or search the unigenes. The OrchidBase 2.0 is freely available at

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Gene expression, Evolution, Biology, Flowers, Orchidaceae, Bioinformatics databases


Molecular biology and literature databases represent essential infrastructure for life science research. Effective integration of these data resources requires that there are structured cross-references at the level of individual articles and biological records. Here, we describe the current patterns of how database entries are cited in research articles, based on analysis of the full text Open Access articles available from Europe PMC. Focusing on citation of entries in the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), UniProt and Protein Data Bank, Europe (PDBe), we demonstrate that text mining doubles the number of structured annotations of database record citations supplied in journal articles by publishers. Many thousands of new literature-database relationships are found by text mining, since these relationships are also not present in the set of articles cited by database records. We recommend that structured annotation of database records in articles is extended to other databases, such as ArrayExpress and Pfam, entries from which are also cited widely in the literature. The very high precision and high-throughput of this text-mining pipeline makes this activity possible both accurately and at low cost, which will allow the development of new integrated data services.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Molecular biology, Biology, Writing, Reference, Bioinformatics databases


In 2012, preliminary guidelines were published addressing sample quality, data acquisition and reduction, presentation of scattering data and validation, and modelling for biomolecular small-angle scattering (SAS) experiments. Biomolecular SAS has since continued to grow and authors have increasingly adopted the preliminary guidelines. In parallel, integrative/hybrid determination of biomolecular structures is a rapidly growing field that is expanding the scope of structural biology. For SAS to contribute maximally to this field, it is essential to ensure open access to the information required for evaluation of the quality of SAS samples and data, as well as the validity of SAS-based structural models. To this end, the preliminary guidelines for data presentation in a publication are reviewed and updated, and the deposition of data and associated models in a public archive is recommended. These guidelines and recommendations have been prepared in consultation with the members of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Small-Angle Scattering and Journals Commissions, the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) Small-Angle Scattering Validation Task Force and additional experts in the field.

Concepts: Protein structure, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Model, X-ray crystallography, Protein Data Bank, Worldwide Protein Data Bank, Bioinformatics databases


The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics ( provides world-class bioinformatics databases, software tools, services and training to the international life science community in academia and industry. These solutions allow life scientists to turn the exponentially growing amount of data into knowledge. Here, we provide an overview of SIB’s resources and competence areas, with a strong focus on curated databases and SIB’s most popular and widely used resources. In particular, SIB’s Bioinformatics resource portal ExPASy features over 150 resources, including UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, ENZYME, PROSITE, neXtProt, STRING, UniCarbKB, SugarBindDB, SwissRegulon, EPD, arrayMap, Bgee, SWISS-MODEL Repository, OMA, OrthoDB and other databases, which are briefly described in this article.

Concepts: DNA, Bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Biology, Life, Ecology, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Bioinformatics databases


In the last two years the Pfam database ( has undergone a substantial reorganisation to reduce the effort involved in making a release, thereby permitting more frequent releases. Arguably the most significant of these changes is that Pfam is now primarily based on the UniProtKB reference proteomes, with the counts of matched sequences and species reported on the website restricted to this smaller set. Building families on reference proteomes sequences brings greater stability, which decreases the amount of manual curation required to maintain them. It also reduces the number of sequences displayed on the website, whilst still providing access to many important model organisms. Matches to the full UniProtKB database are, however, still available and Pfam annotations for individual UniProtKB sequences can still be retrieved. Some Pfam entries (1.6%) which have no matches to reference proteomes remain; we are working with UniProt to see if sequences from them can be incorporated into reference proteomes. Pfam-B, the automatically-generated supplement to Pfam, has been removed. The current release (Pfam 29.0) includes 16 295 entries and 559 clans. The facility to view the relationship between families within a clan has been improved by the introduction of a new tool.

Concepts: Family, Biology, UniProt, Release, Bioinformatics databases, Swiss-Prot, Clan, UniProtKB


A constant influx of new data poses a challenge in keeping the annotation in biological databases current. Most biological databases contain significant quantities of textual annotation, which often contains the richest source of knowledge. Many databases reuse existing knowledge; during the curation process annotations are often propagated between entries. However, this is often not made explicit. Therefore, it can be hard, potentially impossible, for a reader to identify where an annotation originated from. Within this work we attempt to identify annotation provenance and track its subsequent propagation. Specifically, we exploit annotation reuse within the UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProtKB), at the level of individual sentences. We describe a visualisation approach for the provenance and propagation of sentences in UniProtKB which enables a large-scale statistical analysis. Initially levels of sentence reuse within UniProtKB were analysed, showing that reuse is heavily prevalent, which enables the tracking of provenance and propagation. By analysing sentences throughout UniProtKB, a number of interesting propagation patterns were identified, covering over [Formula: see text] sentences. Over [Formula: see text] sentences remain in the database after they have been removed from the entries where they originally occurred. Analysing a subset of these sentences suggest that approximately [Formula: see text] are erroneous, whilst [Formula: see text] appear to be inconsistent. These results suggest that being able to visualise sentence propagation and provenance can aid in the determination of the accuracy and quality of textual annotation. Source code and supplementary data are available from the authors website at

Concepts: Statistics, UniProt, First-order logic, Annotation, Source code, Bioinformatics databases, Swiss-Prot


Seagrasses and aquatic plants are important clades of higher plants, significant for carbon sequestration and marine ecological restoration. They are valuable in the sense that they allow us to understand how plants have developed traits to adapt to high salinity and photosynthetically challenged environments. Here, we present a large-scale phylogenetically profiled transcriptomics repository covering seagrasses and aquatic plants. SeagrassDB encompasses a total of 1,052,262 unigenes with a minimum and maximum contig length of 8,831 bp and 16,705 bp respectively. SeagrassDB provides access to 34,455 transcription factors, 470,568 PFAM domains, 382,528 prosite models and 482,121 InterPro domains across 9 species. SeagrassDB allows for the comparative gene mining using BLAST-based approaches and subsequent unigenes sequence retrieval with associated features such as expression (FPKM values), gene ontologies, functional assignments, family level classification, Interpro domains, KEGG orthology (KO), transcription factors and prosite information. SeagrassDB is available to the scientific community for exploring the functional genic landscape of seagrass and aquatic plants at: .

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Transcription, Molecular biology, Species, Water, Bioinformatics databases, InterPro


PolySearch2 ( is an online text-mining system for identifying relationships between biomedical entities such as human diseases, genes, SNPs, proteins, drugs, metabolites, toxins, metabolic pathways, organs, tissues, subcellular organelles, positive health effects, negative health effects, drug actions, Gene Ontology terms, MeSH terms, ICD-10 medical codes, biological taxonomies and chemical taxonomies. PolySearch2 supports a generalized ‘Given X, find all associated Ys’ query, where X and Y can be selected from the aforementioned biomedical entities. An example query might be: ‘Find all diseases associated with Bisphenol A’. To find its answers, PolySearch2 searches for associations against comprehensive collections of free-text collections, including local versions of MEDLINE abstracts, PubMed Central full-text articles, Wikipedia full-text articles and US Patent application abstracts. PolySearch2 also searches 14 widely used, text-rich biological databases such as UniProt, DrugBank and Human Metabolome Database to improve its accuracy and coverage. PolySearch2 maintains an extensive thesaurus of biological terms and exploits the latest search engine technology to rapidly retrieve relevant articles and databases records. PolySearch2 also generates, ranks and annotates associative candidates and present results with relevancy statistics and highlighted key sentences to facilitate user interpretation.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Medicine, Bioinformatics, Metabolism, Organism, Medical Subject Headings, Bioinformatics databases


BACKGROUND: Interpretation of quantitative metagenomics data is important for our understanding of ecosystem functioning and assessing differences between various environmental samples. There is a need for an easy to use tool to explore the often complex metagenomics data in taxonomic and functional context. RESULTS: Here we introduce FANTOM, a tool that allows for exploratory and comparative analysis of metagenomics abundance data integrated with metadata information and biological databases. Importantly, FANTOM can make use of any hierarchical database and it comes supplied with NCBI taxonomic hierarchies as well as KEGG Orthology, COG, PFAM and TIGRFAM databases. CONCLUSIONS: The software is implemented in Python, is platform independent, and is available at

Concepts: Database, Ecology, Natural environment, Taxonomy, Greek loanwords, Computer software, Bioinformatics databases, Python