DB Rhee, MM Croken, KR Shieh, J Sullivan, G Micklem, K Kim, A Golden
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an obligate intracellular parasite that must monitor for changes in the host environment and respond accordingly; however, it is still not fully known which genetic or epigenetic factors are involved in regulating virulence traits of T. gondii. There are on-going efforts to elucidate the mechanisms regulating the stage transition process via the application of high-throughput epigenomics, genomics and proteomics techniques. Given the range of experimental conditions and the typical yield from such high-throughput techniques, a new challenge arises: how to effectively collect, organize and disseminate the generated data for subsequent data analysis. Here, we describe toxoMine, which provides a powerful interface to support sophisticated integrative exploration of high-throughput experimental data and metadata, providing researchers with a more tractable means toward understanding how genetic and/or epigenetic factors play a coordinated role in determining pathogenicity of T. gondii. As a data warehouse, toxoMine allows integration of high-throughput data sets with public T. gondii data. toxoMine is also able to execute complex queries involving multiple data sets with straightforward user interaction. Furthermore, toxoMine allows users to define their own parameters during the search process that gives users near-limitless search and query capabilities. The interoperability feature also allows users to query and examine data available in other InterMine systems, which would effectively augment the search scope beyond what is available to toxoMine. toxoMine complements the major community database ToxoDB by providing a data warehouse that enables more extensive integrative studies for T. gondii. Given all these factors, we believe it will become an indispensable resource to the greater infectious disease research community.