Publication: Using the Semantic Web for Rapid Integration of WikiPathways with Other Biological Online Data Resources

The diversity of online resources storing biological data in different formats provides a challenge for bioinformaticians to integrate and analyse their biological data. The semantic web provides a standard to facilitate knowledge integration using statements built as triples describing a relation between two objects. WikiPathways, an online collaborative pathway resource, is now available in the semantic web through a SPARQL endpoint at http://sparql.wikipathways.org. Having biological pathways in the semantic web allows rapid integration with data from other resources that contain information about elements present in pathways using SPARQL queries. In order to convert WikiPathways content into meaningful triples we developed two new vocabularies that capture the graphical representation and the pathway logic, respectively. Each gene, protein, and metabolite in a given pathway is defined with a standard set of identifiers to support linking to several other biological resources in the semantic web. WikiPathways triples were loaded into the Open PHACTS discovery platform and are available through its Web API (https://dev.openphacts.org/docs) to be used in various tools for drug development. We combined various semantic web resources with the newly converted WikiPathways content using a variety of SPARQL query types and third-party resources, such as the Open PHACTS API. The ability to use pathway information to form new links across diverse biological data highlights the utility of integrating WikiPathways in the semantic web.

Andra Waagmeester, Martina Kutmon, Anders Riutta, Ryan Miller, Egon L. Willighagen, Chris T. Evelo , Alexander R. Pico

Full publication: PLOS Computational Biology, June 2016