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Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis, which is the leading cause of death in Latin America. The primary objective of this study is to create an ontology-driven information infrastructure to support parasite researchers in identifying gene knockout, vaccination, or drug targets for T. cruzi. This involves querying across multiple datasets from diverse sources, such as proteome, pathway, internal lab data, etc. that are often represented in heterogeneous formats. To address this, a multi-ontology parasite knowledge repository (PKR) is being created with an intuitive graphical query interface called Cuebee. The PKR is underpinned by the Parasite Lifecycle Ontology (PLO) and Parasite Experiment Ontology (PEO) that has been released for public use through National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO). The PLO models lifecycle stages of T. cruzi and two related kinetoplastids, T. brucei and Leishmania major. It also describes the host, parasitic, and vector organisms, and anatomical location corresponding to each stage. On the other hand, the PEO models gene knockout, strain creation, proteomics, and microarray data. All the entities in PLO and PEO are linked to each other by explicitly modeled named relationships; for example, 'Trypanosoma_cruzi->has_vector_organism->triatominae.' Both PLO and PEO are used as schema to semantically annotate the experimental data and transform them into semantic web Resource Description Framework (RDF) format. PLO and PEO along with Cuebee interface will allow biologists to formulate queries over multiple data sources to find gene knockout, vaccination, or drug targets for T. cruzi and related parasites.


Poster presented at the Intelligent System for Molecular Biology (ISMB), Boston, MA, July 11-13, 2010.