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Reviews of microbial gene language published in special issue of Trends in Microbiology
Date:7/14/2009

biotic microbial-host interactions ranging from detrimental to beneficial. Since all are types of intimate interactions, and because microbes initiating these different types have common needs in approaching a host, be it plant or animal, we initially crafted broad terms for describing "symbiont" gene functions in an attempt to highlight these similarities across a diverse set of microbes. For these and the more specific terms that followed, an important contribution of PAMGO to the Gene Ontology was the development of terms that describe the functions of gene products that are made by one organism, for example the microbe, but actually act in a different organism, namely the host."

The first review in the Trends in Microbiology publication describes how the PAMGO Consortium has developed more than 800 new Gene Ontology terms to assist in understanding how microbes interact with their hosts. The authors also point out that Gene Ontology terms will be of great benefit to metagenomics efforts the sequencing of mixtures of multiple organisms from environmental samples in helping define the functions of the many genes discovered by these initiatives. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP), for example, plans to extensively sequence the metagenomes of five human body sites and look for correlations between microbial communities and human health. Dr. Michelle Giglio, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a senior scientist on the PAMGO project, commented: "The surface has barely been scratched in the attempt to unravel the complex relationships between human health and the microbes that inhabit us. Here at the Institute for Genome Sciences we are managing the Data Analysis and Coordination Center for the HMP. The application of standards such as the Gene Ontology, and particularly the PAMGO terms, will be essential to make sense of the massive amounts of metagenomic annotation that wil
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Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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