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ISSN 1386-6338 (P)
ISSN 1434-3207 (E)
In Silico Biology is a scientific research journal for the advancement of computational models and simulations applied to complex biological phenomena. We publish peer-reviewed leading-edge biological, biomedical and biotechnological research in which computer-based (i.e.,
) modeling and analysis tools are developed and utilized to predict and elucidate dynamics of biological systems, their design and control, and their evolution. Experimental support may also be provided to support the computational analyses.
In Silico Biology aims to advance the knowledge of the principles of organization of living systems. We strive to provide computational frameworks for understanding how observable biological properties arise from complex systems. In particular, we seek for integrative formalisms to decipher cross-talks underlying systems level properties, ultimate aim of multi-scale models.
Studies published in
In Silico Biology generally use theoretical models and computational analysis to gain quantitative insights into regulatory processes and networks, cell physiology and morphology, tissue dynamics and organ systems. Special areas of interest include signal transduction and information processing, gene expression and gene regulatory networks, metabolism, proliferation, differentiation and morphogenesis, among others, and the use of multi-scale modeling to connect molecular and cellular systems to the level of organisms and populations.
In Silico Biology also publishes foundational research in which novel algorithms are developed to facilitate modeling and simulations. Such research must demonstrate application to a concrete biological problem.
In Silico Biology frequently publishes special issues on seminal topics and trends. Special issues are handled by Special Issue Editors appointed by the Editor-in-Chief. Proposals for special issues should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief.
About In Silico Biology
is a pendant to
(in the living system) and
(in the test tube) biological experiments, and implies the gain of insights by computer-based simulations and model analyses.
In Silico Biology (ISB) was founded in 1998 as a purely online journal. IOS Press became the publisher of the printed journal shortly after. Today, ISB is dedicated exclusively to biological systems modeling and multi-scale simulations and is published solely by IOS Press. The previous online publisher, Bioinformation Systems, maintains a website containing studies published between 1998 and 2010 for archival purposes.
We strongly support open communications and encourage researchers to share results and preliminary data with the community. Therefore, results and preliminary data made public through conference presentations, conference proceeding or posting of unrefereed manuscripts on preprint servers will not prohibit publication in ISB. However, authors are required to modify a preprint to include the journal reference (including DOI), and a link to the published article on the ISB website upon publication.
Abstract: Accumulating evidence suggests that that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) play key roles in gene regulation and may form the basis of an inter-gene communication system. Many ncRNAs are synthesized similar to mRNAs and can be detected through screening of polyA-rich EST or cDNA libraries. We developed a computational pipeline to screen EST and genomic sequence data for those transcribed genes with limited protein coding potential and applied this pipeline to the model legume Medicago truncatula. This process…identified a set of 503 mRNA-like transcripts that appear not to encode proteins. Further computational analysis showed that many of these ncRNA candidates share structural similarities to known ncRNAs and that they clearly differ from protein coding genes and non-transcribed regions in their base and oligonucleotide compositions, as well as in aspects of secondary structure. By using a machine learning approach, we show that the distinctive ncRNA features presented in this study can be used to discriminate most ncRNAs and may thus be useful for improving ncRNA prediction. Computational analysis of EST isolation frequencies in various plant tissues showed that the expression levels and expression profiles of the putative ncRNAs and mRNAs differ – most interestingly, the putative ncRNAs are highly expressed relative to mRNAs in the root nodule tissue and conserved only in closely related plants. The work presented here constitutes the first large-scale prediction and characterization of ncRNAs in legumes, and provides a basis for further research on elucidating ncRNA function in legume genomics.
Keywords: ncRNA, mRNA-like ncRNA, EST, Medicago truncatula, model legume, SVM, feature classification
Abstract: The Codon Adaptation Index (CAI) was introduced by Sharp and Li in 1987 to quantify codon usage similarities between a coding sequence and a set of reference sequences. When synonymous codons for a given amino acid exist, highly expressed genes seem to prefer some of them, according to tRNA abundance and thermodynamic issues. Some authors have described CAI-based methods to derive expressivity measures for all genes in a genome, in a computational framework. Here…we present the CAIAP (CAI Analyser Package), a platform independent package of computer programs allowing the calculation of the CAI and a deep study of gene expressivity from raw gene sequences. Our approach implements and optimizes a procedure to derive the reference sequences from whole genomes and use their codon usage for CAI estimation. Moreover, a set of analysis tools are provided to perform statistical analyses and therefore to give robustness to results. Objective: Our efforts were aimed to produce an easy-to-use and fully automatic set of programs specifically designed for the analysis of gene expressivity and inter-species comparisons on a great number of genomes. Moreover, the output integrates information coming from functional annotations of genes. We are maintaining a web server storing our analyses for hundreds of genomes, allowing intergenomic comparison of data thanks to dedicated search engines. The CAIAP server is hosted at www4.unifi.it/scibio/bioinfo/caiap/html. The programs (maintained as Perl scripts) are also available for download at the same location.
Keywords: Gene expressivity, Codon Adaptation Index, intergenomic comparison, program package, web server
Abstract: Antisense oligonucleotides inactivate mRNA targets, providing a tool for post-transcriptional gene silencing and a potential novel treatment for many diseases. Reliable design of active antisense depends on better understanding of the mechanism of antisense-target RNA interaction. We have studied the correlation between activity of antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ASO) and structural features of both antisense and target RNAs. A total of 348 ASOs with known activities and their target RNA sequences are classified into…categories according to their predicted secondary structural features. Statistical analysis showed that higher activity is more likely to happen at RNA stem-loops than at other RNA structural categories. The data suggest a weak correlation between the stability of ASO structure and activity. Remarkably, a structural fit between ASO and target seems important for antisense activity. Significantly higher antisense activity is achieved with stem-loop ASOs on stem-loop or linear RNA targets.
Abstract: Most secondary structure prediction programs do not distinguish between parallel and antiparallel β-sheets. However, such knowledge would constrain the available topologies of a protein significantly, and therefore aid existing fold recognition algorithms. For this reason, we propose a technique which, in combination with existing secondary structure programs such as PSIPRED, allows one to distinguish between parallel and antiparallel β-sheets. We propose the use of a support vector machine (SVM) procedure, BETTY, to…predict parallel and antiparallel sheets from sequence. We found that there is a strong signal difference in the sequence profiles which SVMs can efficiently extract. With strand type assignment accuracies of 90.7% and 83.3% for antiparallel and parallel strands, respectively, our method adds considerably to existing information on current 3-class secondary structure predictions. BETTY has been implemented as an online service which academic researchers can access from our website http://www.fz-juelich.de/nic/cbb/service/service.php.
Keywords: SVM, support vector machine, structure prediction, secondary structure prediction, tertiary structure prediction, beta-sheets, beta-strands, parallel beta-sheets, antiparallel beta-sheets, long range constraints
Abstract: Recent sequencing of genomes of several microorganisms provides an opportunity to have access to huge volumes of data stored in various databases. This has resulted in the development of various computational and visualization tools to aid in retrieval and analysis of data. Development of user friendly genome data mapping and visualization tools facilitates researchers to closely examine various features of genes and make inferences from the displayed data efficiently. PGV – Prokaryotic Genome Viewer is a…Java based web application tool capable of generating high quality interactive circular chromosome maps. With simple mouse roll over tasks on the interested region on the displayed map, the user is provided with features such as feature labeling, multi-fold zooming, image rotation and hyperlinking to different information resources. The tool is capable of instantaneously generating maps using user-supplied sequence data.
Abstract: Members of the genus Xanthomonas are significant phytopathogens, which cause diseases in several economically important crops including rice, canola, tomato, citrus, etc. We have analyzed the genomes of six recently sequenced Xanthomonas strains for their synonymous codon usage patterns for all of protein coding genes and specific genes associated with pathogenesis, and determined the predicted highly expressed (PHX) genes by the use of the codon adaptation index (CAI). Our results show considerable…heterogeneity among the genes of these moderately G+C rich genomes. Most of the genes were moderate to highly biased in their codon usage. However, unlike ribosomal protein genes, which were governed by translational selection, those genes associated with pathogenesis (GAP) were affected by mutational pressure and were predicted to have moderate to low expression levels. Only two out of 339 GAP genes were in the PHX category. PHX genes present in clusters of orthologous groups of proteins (COGs) were identified. Genes in the plasmids present in two strains showed moderate to low expression level and only a couple of genes featured in the PHX list. Common genes present in the top-20 PHX gene-list were identified and their possible functions are discussed. Correspondence analysis showed that genes are highly confined to a core in the plot.