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SoftwareX. 2017;6:165-171. doi: 10.1016/j.softx.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Aug 16.

The Co-regulation Data Harvester: automating gene annotation starting from a transcriptome database.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago IL, 60637.


Identifying co-regulated genes provides a useful approach for defining pathway-specific machinery in an organism. To be efficient, this approach relies on thorough genome annotation, a process much slower than genome sequencing per se. Tetrahymena thermophila, a unicellular eukaryote, has been a useful model organism and has a fully sequenced but sparsely annotated genome. One important resource for studying this organism has been an online transcriptomic database. We have developed an automated approach to gene annotation in the context of transcriptome data in T. thermophila, called the Co-regulation Data Harvester (CDH). Beginning with a gene of interest, the CDH identifies co-regulated genes by accessing the Tetrahymena transcriptome database. It then identifies their closely related genes (orthologs) in other organisms by using reciprocal BLAST searches. Finally, it collates the annotations of those orthologs' functions, which provides the user with information to help predict the cellular role of the initial query. The CDH, which is freely available, represents a powerful new tool for analyzing cell biological pathways in Tetrahymena. Moreover, to the extent that genes and pathways are conserved between organisms, the inferences obtained via the CDH should be relevant, and can be explored, in many other systems.


Automation; Bioinformatics; Evolution; Protists

[Available on 2018-08-16]

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