The Parkinson's Disease Map: A Framework for Integration, Curation and Exploration of Disease-related Pathways

Objectives: The pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) is multi-factorial and age-related, implicating various genetic and environmental factors. It becomes increasingly important to develop new approaches to organize and explore the exploding knowledge of this field.
Methods: The published knowledge on pathways implicated in PD, such as synaptic and mitochondrial dysfunction, alpha-synuclein pathobiology, failure of protein degradation systems and neuroinflammation has been organized and represented using CellDesigner. This repository has been linked to a framework of bioinformatics tools including text mining, database annotation, large-scale data integration and network analysis. The interface for online curation of the repository has been established using Payao tool.
Results: We present the PD map, a computer-based knowledge repository, which includes molecular mechanisms of PD in a visually structured and standardized way. A bioinformatics framework that facilitates in-depth knowledge exploration, extraction and curation supports the map. We discuss the insights gained from PD map-driven text mining of a corpus of over 50 thousands full text PD-related papers, integration and visualization of gene expression in post mortem brain tissue of PD patients with the map, as well as results of network analysis.
Conclusions: The knowledge repository of disease-related mechanisms provides a global insight into relationships between different pathways and allows considering a given pathology in a broad context. Enrichment with available text and bioinformatics databases as well as integration of experimental data supports better understanding of complex mechanisms of PD and formulation of novel research hypotheses.