The web site www.macrophages.com is an established resource that contains a large number of resources dealing withing macrophage biology, including the BioInfoWeb, which links into massive transcriptional network data sets generated in the PIs laboratory and through the FANTOM Consortium and Genome Network Project. This proposal aims to expand macrophages.com into community web site, that provides new tools to access genome-scale macrophage data in a user-friendly and intuitive way, especially including data generated in multiple different vertebrate species. This data will be integrated with developing pathway analysis tools, and with data sets generated by the international macrophage biology community. The overall structure of the database will be centred around individual genes, enabling members of the community to readily access quality curated information about any gene that relates to its overall function, and to its specific roles and regulation in macrophages.
Macrophages are large white blood cells that are also found in substantial numbers in every tissue of the body. Their numbers are increased still further in response to inflammatory stimuli. They are essential in many aspects of normal physiology and wound repair, and they act as a first line of defence against pathogenic organisms, coordinate both the immune responses to infection. For this reason, their biology is of very broad interest in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and animal production industries and there is a large community of scientists who study them. The past 10 years has seen a massive increase in the amount of information about macrophages, especially concerning the ways that different genes are controlled in order to generate the many different functions of these cells. Genome-scale information is very difficult for individual scientist to access and comprehend in ways that enable them to develop and test hypotheses. This proposal aims to establish a web site that will serve as a community resource for the international macrophage biology community. It is what is called a web2.0 resource, in which the community participates actively in generating the resource, and in communicating through it. It will be populated with convenient tools that enable visualisation and analysis of large sets of data relating to genes that function in macrophages; data contributed by participating research groups.
The macrophages.com site has been established and now has a substantial hit rate and is well-regarded by users. In the process of establishing the site, we have carried out a series of meta-analysis and expression atlas projects that serve the functional genomics community; the outputs are displayed on the site.