Background: Due to the constantly growing number of sequenced microbial genomes, comparative genomics has been playing a major role in the investigation of regulatory interactions in bacteria. Regulon inference mostly remains a field of semi-manual examination since absence of a knowledgebase and informatics platform for automated and systematic investigation restricts opportunities for computational prediction. Additionally, confirming computationally inferred regulons by experimental data is critically important.
Description: RegTransBase is an open-access platform with a user-friendly web interface publicly available at http://regtransbase.lbl.gov. It consists of two databases - a manually collected hierarchical regulatory interactions database based on more than 7000 scientific papers which can serve as a knowledgebase for verification of predictions, and a large set of curated by experts transcription factor binding sites used in regulon inference by a variety of tools. RegTransBase captures the knowledge from published scientific literature using controlled vocabularies and contains various types of experimental data, such as: the activation or repression of transcription by an identified direct regulator; determination of the transcriptional regulatory function of a protein (or RNA) directly binding to DNA or RNA; mapping of binding sites for a regulatory protein; characterization of regulatory mutations. Analysis of the data collected from literature resulted in the creation of Putative Regulons from Experimental Data that are also available in RegTransBase.
Conclusions: RegTransBase is a powerful user-friendly platform for the investigation of regulation in prokaryotes. It uses a collection of validated regulatory sequences that can be easily extracted and used to infer regulatory interactions by comparative genomics techniques thus assisting researchers in the interpretation of transcriptional regulation data.