Background: Computing of sequence similarity results is becoming a limiting factor in metagenome analysis. Sequence similarity search results encoded in an open, exchangeable format have the potential to limit the needs for computational reanalysis of these data sets. A prerequisite for sharing of similarity results is a common reference.
Description: We introduce a mechanism for automatically maintaining a comprehensive, non-redundant protein database and for creating a quarterly release of this resource. In addition, we present tools for translating similarity searches into many annotation namespaces, e.g. KEGG or NCBI's GenBank.
Conclusions: The data and tools we present allow the creation of multiple result sets using a single computation, permitting computational results to be shared between groups for large sequence data sets.