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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Systematic reconstruction of TRANSPATH data into Cell System Markup Language

Masao Nagasaki*, Ayumu Saito, Chen Li, Euna Jeong and Satoru Miyano

Author Affiliations

Human Genome Center, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan

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BMC Systems Biology 2008, 2:53  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-2-53

Published: 23 June 2008



Many biological repositories store information based on experimental study of the biological processes within a cell, such as protein-protein interactions, metabolic pathways, signal transduction pathways, or regulations of transcription factors and miRNA. Unfortunately, it is difficult to directly use such information when generating simulation-based models. Thus, modeling rules for encoding biological knowledge into system-dynamics-oriented standardized formats would be very useful for fully understanding cellular dynamics at the system level.


We selected the TRANSPATH database, a manually curated high-quality pathway database, which provides a plentiful source of cellular events in humans, mice, and rats, collected from over 31,500 publications. In this work, we have developed 16 modeling rules based on hybrid functional Petri net with extension (HFPNe), which is suitable for graphical representing and simulating biological processes. In the modeling rules, each Petri net element is incorporated with Cell System Ontology to enable semantic interoperability of models. As a formal ontology for biological pathway modeling with dynamics, CSO also defines biological terminology and corresponding icons. By combining HFPNe with the CSO features, it is possible to make TRANSPATH data to simulation-based and semantically valid models. The results are encoded into a biological pathway format, Cell System Markup Language (CSML), which eases the exchange and integration of biological data and models.


By using the 16 modeling rules, 97% of the reactions in TRANSPATH are converted into simulation-based models represented in CSML. This reconstruction demonstrates that it is possible to use our rules to generate quantitative models from static pathway descriptions.