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A new advance in alternative splicing databases: from catalogue to detailed analysis of regulation of expression and function of human alternative splicing variants

Pierre de la Grange, Martin Dutertre, Margot Correa and Didier Auboeuf*

Author Affiliations

INSERM U685/AVENIR, Centre G. Hayem, Hôpital Saint-Louis, 1 avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75010 Paris, France

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:180  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-180

Published: 4 June 2007

Abstract

Background

Most human genes produce several transcripts with different exon contents by using alternative promoters, alternative polyadenylation sites and alternative splice sites. Much effort has been devoted to describing known gene transcripts through the development of numerous databases. Nevertheless, owing to the diversity of the transcriptome, there is a need for interactive databases that provide information about the potential function of each splicing variant, as well as its expression pattern.

Description

After setting up a database in which human and mouse splicing variants were compiled, we developed tools (1) to predict the production of protein isoforms from these transcripts, taking account of the presence of open reading frames and mechanisms that could potentially eliminate transcripts and/or inhibit their translation, i.e. nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and microRNAs; (2) to support studies of the regulation of transcript expression at multiple levels, including transcription and splicing, particularly in terms of tissue specificity; and (3) to assist in experimental analysis of the expression of splicing variants. Importantly, analyses of all features from transcript metabolism to functional protein domains were integrated in a highly interactive, user-friendly web interface that allows the functional and regulatory features of gene transcripts to be assessed rapidly and accurately.

Conclusion

In addition to identifying the transcripts produced by human and mouse genes, fast DB http://www.fast-db.com webcite provides tools for analyzing the putative functions of these transcripts and the regulation of their expression. Therefore, fast DB has achieved an advance in alternative splicing databases by providing resources for the functional interpretation of splicing variants for the human and mouse genomes. Because gene expression studies are increasingly employed in clinical analyses, our web interface has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible and to be readily searchable and intelligible at a glance by the whole biomedical community.