The MetabolomeExpress Project: enabling web-based processing, analysis and transparent dissemination of GC/MS metabolomics datasets
1 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
2 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology
3 Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:376 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-376Published: 14 July 2010
Standardization of analytical approaches and reporting methods via community-wide collaboration can work synergistically with web-tool development to result in rapid community-driven expansion of online data repositories suitable for data mining and meta-analysis. In metabolomics, the inter-laboratory reproducibility of gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS) makes it an obvious target for such development. While a number of web-tools offer access to datasets and/or tools for raw data processing and statistical analysis, none of these systems are currently set up to act as a public repository by easily accepting, processing and presenting publicly submitted GC/MS metabolomics datasets for public re-analysis.
Here, we present MetabolomeExpress, a new File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server and web-tool for the online storage, processing, visualisation and statistical re-analysis of publicly submitted GC/MS metabolomics datasets. Users may search a quality-controlled database of metabolite response statistics from publicly submitted datasets by a number of parameters (eg. metabolite, species, organ/biofluid etc.). Users may also perform meta-analysis comparisons of multiple independent experiments or re-analyse public primary datasets via user-friendly tools for t-test, principal components analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis and correlation analysis. They may interact with chromatograms, mass spectra and peak detection results via an integrated raw data viewer. Researchers who register for a free account may upload (via FTP) their own data to the server for online processing via a novel raw data processing pipeline.
MetabolomeExpress https://www.metabolome-express.org webcite provides a new opportunity for the general metabolomics community to transparently present online the raw and processed GC/MS data underlying their metabolomics publications. Transparent sharing of these data will allow researchers to assess data quality and draw their own insights from published metabolomics datasets.