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A guide for protein structure prediction methods and software

To exert their biological functions, proteins fold into one or more specific conformations, dictated by complex and reversible non-covalent interactions. Determining the structure of a protein can be achieved by time-consuming and relatively expensive technics such as crystallography, nuclear-magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and dual polarization interferometry. Bioinformatics software have been developed to compute and predict protein structures based on their amino acid sequences.   A recap on protein structure   As an alternative to experimental technics, structure analysis and prediction tools help predict protein structure according to their amino-acid sequences. Solving the structure of a given protein is highly important in medicine (for example, in drug design) and biotechnology (for example, in the design of novel enzymes). The field of computational …

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Best bioinformatics software for single-cell RNA sequencing

RNA-sequencing is often performed on well-identified groups of cells thought to be homogeneous. However, quantification of molecular changes is made by estimating the mean value from millions of cells and averaging the signal of individual cells, thus ignoring cell-to-cell heterogeneity. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNAseq) enables to unravel the heterogeneity of cell genotype, phenotype, and function within a given subpopulation.   ScRNA-seq now has a wide variety of applications, and numerous tools were developed to analyze this new kind of sequencing data. To help you perform your experiments in the best conditions, we asked OMICtools members to choose their favorite scRNA-seq analysis tools.   Main applications for scRNA-sequencing   Single-cell RNA sequencing finds its main applications in immunology (covered here), cancerology, and …

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Test your microbiome analysis pipeline with PLuMA

Study of the microbiome and metagenomics are actively developing areas of research. In the meantime, analyzing microbiome data has become increasingly complex, with multiple tools required to be run sequentially. Running these so-called “pipelines” of tools can be challenging because of the diversity of coding languages and compatibility issues.   To overcome this problem, Trevor Cickovski and Giri Narasimhan from the Bioinformatics Research Group of the Florida International University have developed PLuMA, a Plugin-Based Microbiome Analysis lightweight back end pipeline that supports multiple dynamically loaded plugin extensions. Here, they describe their tool and its main features.   Plugin-Based Microbiome Analysis   If you are an algorithm developer who wants to prototype, test and debug a new pipeline stage in your …

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Choosing the right name for a bioinformatics tool

The name of your bioinformatics tool is the icing on the cake. You should be very attentive and feel concerned regarding this feature. While having a great name does not assure you to stand out, a bad appellation often results in a failure to reach your audience. The do’s and don’ts Don’t take a name that already exists Your tool is unique. As such, it deserves to have a sole name. Don’t try to copy the name of a famous tool or your favorite one. It can be detrimental for you. Indeed, people tend to compare products with each other, especially if they have the same title. They can be confused about the function of your tool.   OMICtools contains …

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Improve your differential gene expression analysis with EPEE

Differential gene expression is highly common. The standard paradigm is to quantify the significance of differences in the individual gene expression values, commonly known as differential expression (DE) analysis. One opportunity to improve the widely used DE analysis is to incorporate known gene regulation relationships. Without regulatory knowledge, DE methods cannot discover any perturbation/regulation events due to post-transcriptional and/or translational mechanisms. To address this challenge, Murat Cobanoglu and his colleagues from Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics have developed EPEE. Here, they present their tool and its main features. EPEE features To more accurately analyze differential gene expression data, we need algorithms that account for differential regulation (DR). However, most currently existing DR methods do not strictly integrate existing knowledge of transcriptional regulation …

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