SoyXpress: A database for exploring the soybean transcriptome

Christine Cheng, Kei Chin; Strömvik, Martina V.
January 2008
BMC Genomics;2008, Vol. 9, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Experiments using whole transcriptome microarrays produce massive amounts of data. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this gene expression data it needs to be integrated with other available information such as gene function and metabolic pathways. Bioinformatics tools are essential to handle, organize and interpret the results. To date, no database provides whole transcriptome analysis capabilities integrated with terms describing biological functions for soybean (Glycine max (L) Merr.). To this end we have developed SoyXpress, a relational database with a suite of web interfaces to allow users to easily retrieve data and results of the microarray experiment with cross-referenced annotations of expressed sequence tags (EST) and hyperlinks to external public databases. This environment makes it possible to explore differences in gene expression, if any, between for instance transgenic and non-transgenic soybean cultivars and to interpret the results based on gene functional annotations to determine any changes that could potentially alter biological processes. Results: SoyXpress is a database designed for exploring the soybean transcriptome. Currently SoyXpress houses 380,095 soybean Expressed Sequence Tags (EST), linked with metabolic pathways, Gene Ontology terms, SwissProt identifiers and Affymetrix gene expression data. Array data is presently available from an experiment profiling global gene expression of three conventional and two genetically engineered soybean cultivars. The microarray data is linked with the sequence data, for maximum knowledge extraction. SoyXpress is implemented in MySQL and uses a Perl CGI interface. Conclusion: SoyXpress is designed for the purpose of exploring potential transcriptome differences in different plant genotypes, including genetically modified crops. Soybean EST sequences, microarray and pathway data as well as searchable and browsable gene ontology are integrated and presented. SoyXpress is publicly accessible at http://soyxpress.agrenv.mcgill.ca.


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