Pathway annotation of gene lists is often used to functionally analyse biomolecular data such as gene expression in order to establish which processes are activated in a given experiment. Databases such as KEGG or GO represent collections of how genes are known to be organized in pathways, and the challenge is to compare a given gene list with the known pathways such that all true relations are identified. Most tools apply statistical measures to the gene overlap between the gene list and pathway. It is however problematic to avoid false negatives and false positives when only using the gene overlap. The pathwAX web server (http://pathwAX.sbc.su.se/) applies a different approach which is based on network crosstalk. It uses the comprehensive network FunCoup to analyse network crosstalk between a query gene list and KEGG pathways. PathwAX runs the BinoX algorithm, which employs Monte-Carlo sampling of randomized networks and estimates a binomial distribution, for estimating the statistical significance of the crosstalk. This results in substantially higher accuracy than gene overlap methods. The system was optimized for speed and allows interactive web usage. We illustrate the usage and output of pathwAX.
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.