HomeBiologyFeatured Useful resource: Echinobase - the Node

Featured Useful resource: Echinobase – the Node

Doing nice science will depend on teamwork, whether or not that is throughout the lab or in collaboration with different labs. Nonetheless, generally the sources that assist our work will be neglected. Our ‘Featured useful resource’ collection goals to shine a lightweight on these unsung heroes of the science world. In our newest article, we hear from Cheryl Telmer, who describes the work of Echinobase.


Echinobase (www.echinobase.org) is a mannequin organism knowledgebase for the echinoderm analysis group (Arshinoff et al. 2022). The Phylum Echinodermata has 5 Lessons: the basal branching Crinoidea (crinoids), and the 4 motile Eleutherozoa Lessons together with Asterozoa, composed of the Ophiuroidea (brittle stars) and Asteroidea (starfish) and the Echinozoa, composed of the Echinoidea (sea urchins and sand {dollars}) and Holothuroidea (sea cucumbers). Echinoderms, together with the phyla Chordata and Hemichordata are Deuterostomes.  The species utilized in analysis labs have many benefits for finding out embryo improvement and regeneration together with an abundance of gametes, synchronized fertilization, clear embryos and larvae, ease of microinjection and micromanipulation, and variation in improvement inside and between a species. This has made echinoderms a premier mannequin system to review gene regulation, genomic management of cell specification and gene regulatory networks in improvement and evolution. 

Echinobase is the third technology computational useful resource for the assist of all genomic knowledge and analysis utilizing echinoderm mannequin organisms.

The Echinobase Groups

Echinobase has been developed from earlier databases together with SpBase (beforehand funded by NIH R01 to PI Andy Cameron, 2007-2012) and EchinoBase (NIH P41 to PI Cameron, 2012-2018). Echinobase improvement is now funded by means of a collaborative NIH P41 between Carnegie Mellon College (PIs Hinman/Ettensohn) and the College of Calgary (PI Vize). The database and software program improvement workforce are in Calgary and in addition run the Xenopus knowledgebase, Xenbase. The info curation and bioinformatics workforce are at Carnegie Mellon College, the place the PIs are main researchers within the echinoderm analysis group. The present Echinobase is a clone of Xenbase which has tailored a number of new options and content material in assist of the echinoderm group, and broader wants of the developmental biology communities. 

Assist for Genomics Analysis

Probably the most present genome assemblies are hosted on Echinobase. At the moment 4 species are totally supported, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (purple sea urchin), Lytechinus variegatus (variegated sea urchin), Patiria miniata (bat star) and Acanthaster planci (Crown of Thorns sea star). Partial assist (BLAST and JBrowse) is offered for Asterias rubens (sugar star) and Anneissia japonica (feather star, a crinoid). Search and BLAST instruments can be found on the touchdown web page or by means of the over 38,000 gene pages. Gene pages additionally show gene mannequin HGNC compliant names, multispecies orthology, GO phrases, a hyperlink to the JBrowse genome browser, and a gene expression plotting instrument. Tabs past the abstract on the gene web page present gene particular literature, transcripts, expression knowledge, protein sequences, interactants and extra. 

The Echinoderm Anatomical Ontology

The Echinoderm Anatomical Ontology (ECAO) describes echinoderm anatomy and embryological improvement utilizing a managed vocabulary of anatomy phrases and developmental levels which can be organized in a hierarchy with a graphical construction. Echinobase curators use ECAO phrases to explain the spatiotemporal expression patterns of endogenous gene merchandise, the transcriptional exercise of cis-regulatory modules, the consequences of morpholinos, and different kinds of organic info. The ECAO is consistently being up to date in response to the newest revealed echinoderm analysis.

The ECAO incorporates 1000’s of phrases and relationships. Every anatomical system (e.g. nervous system, skeletal system), tissue and construction (e.g. ciliary band, mesoderm, blastopore) and lots of cell varieties (e.g. pigment cell, serotonergic neuron, skeletogenic mesenchyme cell) are separate phrases; every time period is totally outlined and associated to different phrases by is_a, part_of, develops_from and develops_into relationships. The ontology makes textual content and knowledge laptop readable and permits our code to hyperlink and infer relationships between many several types of content material.

Guide and Automated Curation

Automated literature assortment has retrieved over 18,000 publications for automated and guide curation. Textual content matching mechanically hyperlinks gene symbols or names showing in manuscript textual content to gene pages. Guide curation extracts sequence info for morpholinos, gRNAs, and cis-regulatory components and itemizes antibodies utilized in experiments.  

Sharing on EchinoWiki and FTP

To assist the group, collections of knowledge, protocols and different sources are shared utilizing EchinoWiki and an FTP web site. To allow interdisciplinary and collaborative research, contact info for group members and teams and details about their analysis can be found and searchable.

Assist from customers

The echinoderm analysis group has all the time been extraordinarily supportive and may proceed to take action at many ranges. It’s extremely essential and appreciated if customers cite Echinobase at any time when potential in articles, displays and funding functions (quotation hyperlink within the high proper nook of the webpage “Citing Echinobase”). These acknowledgements make Echinobase’s impression on analysis extra tangible and particularly the article citations present metrics that can be utilized for funding functions.

Assist from authors 

Authors may contribute in a number of methods to simplify the curation of their articles, finally permitting their knowledge to be extra shortly accessible on the web site. 

Whenever you write your paper…

Along with “Citing Echinobase”, clear, detailed and correct descriptions of the experiments and sources minimizes the curation effort and reduces the necessity to contact the authors. Articles ought to point out official Echinobase identifiers and nomenclature for entities similar to genes, alleles, and anatomical buildings. 


Arshinoff BI, Cary GA, Karimi Okay, Foley S, Agalakov S, Delgado F, Lotay VS, Ku CJ, Pells TJ, Beatman TR, Kim E, Cameron RA, Vize PD, Telmer CA, Croce J, Ettensohn CA, Hinman VF, Echinobase: leveraging an extant mannequin organism database to construct a knowledgebase supporting analysis on the genomics and biology of echinoderms, Nucleic Acids Analysis, Quantity 50, Situation D1, 10.1093/nar/gkab1005

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