Plasmobase: a comparative database of predicted domain architectures for Plasmodium genomes

Abstract : Background: With the availability of complete genome sequences of both human and non-human Plasmodium parasites, it is now possible to use comparative genomics to look for orthology across Plasmodium species and for species specific genes. This comparative analyses could provide important clues for the development of new strategies to prevent and treat malaria in humans, however, the number of functionally annotated proteins is still low for all Plasmodium species. In the context of genomes that are hard to annotate because of sequence divergence, such as Plasmodium, domain co-occurrence becomes particularly important to trust predictions. In particular, domain architecture prediction can be used to improve the performance of existing annotation methods since homologous proteins might share their architectural context. Results: Plasmobase is a unique database designed for the comparative study of Plasmodium genomes. Domain architecture reconstruction in Plasmobase relies on DAMA, the state-of-the-art method in architecture prediction, while domain annotation is realised with CLADE, a novel annotation tool based on a multi-source strategy. Plasmobase significantly increases the Pfam domain coverage of all Plasmodium genomes, it proposes new domain architectures as well as new domain families that have never been reported before for these genomes. It proposes a visualization of domain architectures and allows for an easy comparison among architectures within Plasmodium species and with other species, described in UniProt. Conclusions: Plasmobase is a valuable new resource for domain annotation in Plasmodium genomes. Its graphical presentation of protein sequences, based on domain architectures, will hopefully be of interest for comparative genomic studies. It should help to discover species-specific genes, possibly underlying important phenotypic differences between parasites, and orthologous gene families for deciphering the biology of these complex and important Apicomplexan organisms. In conclusion, Plasmobase is a flexible and rich site where any biologist can find something of his/her own interest.
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Juliana Bernardes, Catherine Vaquero, Alessandra Carbone. Plasmobase: a comparative database of predicted domain architectures for Plasmodium genomes. Malaria Journal, BioMed Central, 2017, 16, pp.241. 〈10.1186/s12936-017-1887-8〉. 〈hal-01556734〉

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