GTC: A web server for integrating systems biology data with web tools and desktop applications
© Tenenbaum et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Received: 14 April 2010
Accepted: 13 July 2010
Published: 13 July 2010
Gaggle Tool Creator (GTC) is a web application which provides access to public annotation, interaction, orthology, and genomic data for hundreds of organisms, and enables instant analysis of the data using many popular web-based and desktop applications.
There are hundreds of public databases for systems biology data, and an equal number of applications for working with that data. However, it is often difficult to work with data of interest in the desired applications. Databases may not offer programmatic access, or require special scripting. Software tools may imprison the data in such a way that it can only be analyzed by a particular application. Data available for one organism may not be available for another. Individuals may have to download their own copies of databases in order to work with them in nonstandard ways, forcing them into the role of curator. Software tools may not allow users to work with their own data. Applications may only accept data in arcane formats, requiring special conversion.
Results and Discussion
GTC's user interface allows the user to choose up to ten organisms to work with.
GTC displays several links for each organism, and the following list describes in greater detail what happens when the user clicks these links.
A desktop application displaying annotation data from NCBI.
An application that can translate between various naming schemes for genes (Locus Tag, Gene Name, Product Name). Data come from either NCBI or BioNetBuilder.
The Cytoscape network viewer , with data from either STRING or BioNetBuilder.
A genome browser, preloaded with genomic data from the UCSC genome web service.
Finds orthologs between any two organisms (invoked when the user chooses exactly two organisms to work with).
Each of these links is paired with another called "Load Your Own" which allows the user to provide their own data. Because Gaggle is a message-passing framework, the user is not limited to the applications listed above and in fact can use any Gaggle-enabled tool; and, using Gaggle's Firegoose extension  for the Firefox browser, web sites such as KEGG, STRING, EntrezGene, EntrezProtein, and DAVID . (GTC will work with any modern web browser but Firegoose enables two-way communication with Gaggle-enabled web sites.)
Availability and Requirements
Project name: GTC (Gaggle Tool Creator)
Project home page: http://gaggle.systemsbiology.net/gtc
Operating system: Platform independent web site
Other requirements: Java 1.5 or higher and a web browser. While GTC can be viewed with any modern web browser, Firefox and the Firegoose extension are required for full interoperability with Gaggle-enabled applications and websites.
License: GNU LGPL
Any restrictions to use by non-academics: None
We thank Optra Systems for engineering assistance, and Sarah Killcoyne for modifications to the Gaggle plugin for Cytoscape.
Funding: This work was supported by grants from NSF (DBI-0640950), DOE (DE-FG02-07ER64327), NIH (P50GM076547) and Battelle (PNNL subcontract 39527 to NSB).
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