Navigation Links
Uniform language for describing genes of pathogenic and beneficial microbes

An international group of scientists has announced a major expansion of a lingua franca used to describe the activities of genes in living organisms. The expansion provides terms that scientists can use to describe the complex events that occur when a pathogenic or beneficial microbe encounters its host. Understanding these events is crucial for developing new interventions for preventing infections by disease-causing microbes while preserving or encouraging the presence of beneficial microbes.

The unified language under development in this effort is called The Gene Ontology (GO). The new terms added to the GO will significantly bolster what is already a powerful tool for scientists to compare the functions of genes and proteins in a wide range of disease-related organisms. The ongoing initiative is part of the Plant-Associated Microbe Gene Ontology (PAMGO) project, a recently-established interest group of the worldwide Gene Ontology Consortium.

The GO Consortium has been working since 2000 to develop a common language of terms that can be used to describe how individual genes function in diverse organisms. The PAMGO project is supported by the National Science Foundation and by the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Candace Collmer, Professor of Biology at Wells College and one of the principal investigators on the project explained: “Microbes that associate with plants or animals can be pathogenic, neutral, or beneficial, but all share many common processes in their interactions with their hosts. For example, all must initially attach to the host. Accordingly, from the very beginning of the PAMGO project, we carefully tailored the new terms so that they would be useful for describing benign as well as pathogenic microbes in plant or animal hosts.?

Brett Tyler, Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, and the PAMGO project leader, remarked: “Having a co mmon set of terms to describe genes of pathogenic and beneficial microbes as well as the organisms they come into contact with is a critical step in understanding host-microbe-environment interactions. By providing a precise vocabulary for the functions of these genes, scientists can compare among microbes the many processes that make up the interplay between a microbe and its host.?

Dr. Tyler added: “PAMGO started out with the goal of creating terms to describe how microbes interact with plants. However, we quickly realized that almost all the terms were relevant to microbes that interact with animals and humans, and the response from researchers that study human and animal diseases has been very enthusiastic.?

"A common set of terms for the exchange of information about microbe-host interactions will help researchers communicate information, and expand concepts from the studies of microbes and their hosts," said Maryanna Henkart, Director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.

João Setubal, Deputy Director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and one of the scientists on the project, commented “When the PAMGO project began, many GO terms existed for describing biological functions and processes found in microbes, but very few for describing the functions used by microbes in their associations with hosts.?

Trudy Torto-Alalibo, PAMGO Project Coordinator, remarked: “The GO Consortium has been set up in a way that allows all users to actively contribute to the ongoing refinement of the terms. When a scientist submits a new term to PAMGO it enables the entire community to participate in synthesizing a common understanding of how microbes associate with hosts. This is a tremendous open-source resource and a powerful way to advance our understanding of host-pathogen relationships.?

Michelle Gwinn-Giglio, Staff Scientist at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and a sen ior PAMGO member, remarked: “During the process of developing terms for PAMGO, it was immediately apparent that the mechanisms that microbes use to deal with hosts are really quite universal. The same terms can be used for species ranging from nematode worms to bacteria. Having these terms in place will greatly enhance research in this area.?

In the current update, the PAMGO consortium, in collaboration with Jane Lomax and Amelia Ireland of the GO Consortium’s editorial office at the European Bioinformatics Institute, has released more than 450 new terms for describing gene products involved in microbial-host interactions.


Source:Virginia Tech

Related biology news :

1. Uniform tungsten trimers stand and deliver
2. RNA project to create language for scientists worldwide
3. Uniquely human component of language found in gregarious birds
4. Warbling whales speak a language all their own
5. Learning the language of DNA
6. Computer scientists unravel language of surgery
7. Newly-discovered class of genes determines ?and restricts ?stem cell fate
8. Inexpensive, mass-produced genes core of synthetic biology advances at UH
9. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
10. U-M scientists find genes that control growth of common skin cancer
11. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report to ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a ... vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of the ... of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 ...
(Date:11/20/2015)... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... mobile commerce market and creator of the Wocket® smart ... recently interviewed on The RedChip Money Report ... on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, Bloomberg Australia, ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... , Nov. 19, 2015  Based on its ... & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 Global Frost ... year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the ... catering to the needs of the market it serves. ... line meets and expands on customer base demands, the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock ... news release there are no corporate developments that would ... --> --> About ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together ... their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the ... title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: