WikiPathways for plants: a community pathway curation portal and a case study in rice and arabidopsis seed development networks

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  • Background: Next-generation sequencing and 'omics' platforms are used extensively in plant biology research to unravel new genomes and study their interactions with abiotic and biotic agents in the growth environment. Despite the availability of a large and growing number of genomic data sets, there are only limited resources providing highly-curated and up-to-date metabolic and regulatory networks for plant pathways. Results: Using PathVisio, a pathway editor tool associated with WikiPathways, we created a gene interaction network of 430 rice (Oryza sativa) genes involved in the seed development process by curating interactions reported in the published literature. We then applied an InParanoid-based homology search to these genes and used the resulting gene clusters to identify 351 Arabidopsis thaliana genes. Using this list of homologous genes, we constructed a seed development network in Arabidopsis by processing the gene list and the rice network through a Perl utility software called Pathway GeneSWAPPER developed by us. In order to demonstrate the utility of these networks in generating testable hypotheses and preliminary analysis prior to more in-depth downstream analysis, we used the expression viewer and statistical analysis features of PathVisio to analyze publicly-available and published microarray gene expression data sets on diurnal photoperiod response and the seed development time course to discover patterns of coexpressed genes found in the rice and Arabidopsis seed development networks. These seed development networks described herein, along with other plant pathways and networks, are freely available on the plant pathways portal at WikiPathways ( Conclusion: In collaboration with the WikiPathways project we present a community curation and analysis platform for plant biologists where registered users can freely create, edit, share and monitor pathways supported by published literature. We describe the curation and annotation of a seed development network in rice, and the projection of a similar, gene homology-based network in Arabidopsis. We also demonstrate the utility of the Pathway GeneSWAPPER (PGS) application in saving valuable time and labor when a reference network in one species compiled in GPML format is used to project a similar network in another species based on gene homology.
  • Keywords: Metabolic pathways, Stress response, Oryza sativa L., Gene expression, Coordinated transcriptional regulation, Use efficiency, Flowering time, Database, Identification, Genome
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  • Hanumappa, M., Preece, J., Elser, J., Nemeth, D., Bono, G., Wu, K., & Jaiswal, P. (2013). WikiPathways for plants: A community pathway curation portal and a case study in rice and arabidopsis seed development networks. Rice, 6(1), 1-10. doi:10.1186/1939-8433-6-14
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  • 6
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  • 1
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  • This work was supported in part by US National Science Foundation-funded project IOS: #0703908 and the startup funds provided by the Oregon State University to Pankaj Jaiswal. The funders had no role in the study design, data analysis, or preparation of the manuscript.
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