DistilBio – New features and Data

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DistilBio – New features and Data

Over the past few weeks we have been cheap beats ukadding new features and data to enhance the user experience. Some of the new features are detailed below.


Instant display of results

The query interface has been revamped to display results instantaneously as the user starts typing a query. Earlier, as the user created a query, nodes were formed in the panel above the search box and the user had to hit “Search” to view results. In the new release, as the user starts typing a query, the various options are displayed in the auto-complete and the results are simultaneously displayed in the result interface below the search box. The results displayed below changes dynamically as the user continues typing. For example, as the user types “Aspirin”, results are displayed instantly. Results change as the user continues adding letters to the search term. Users can also view the query nodes by clicking on the arrow above the query box.

Facet modification

Earlier, the facets in the result browser were static and sometimes this presented a problem when there were multiple  facets and user had to scroll down the page to find relevant data. Now, the facets can be maximized, minimized and moved around to view only the data the user in interested in viewing.


One of the first things a researcher asks when he/she finds a connection between 2 concepts is “what is the provenance for this connection?” In the latest release of DistilBio, users can click on the connecting link between 2 facets and view the source of the data (displayed to the top right of the page) and also the curated publications for the links. The curated publications are derived from the source databases from which the data has been integrated.

Numerical operators

Querying using numerical operators is another feature that has been enabled in DistilBio. Many a times users while working on small molecules/drugs/proteins need to find molecules of a particular molecular weight or logP value etc.  Users can now build queries in DistilBio using numerical operators like <, >, =. For example, if a user wants to find all compounds that target the protein cdk1 in human.

Query: cdk1_human ---> compound

The results show 3326 compounds targeting the protein cdk1_human. To narrow down the list, the user can now find compounds with a molecular weight of say < 300.

Query: cdk1_human ---> compound ---> molecular weight <300

This narrows down the list to about 494 compounds. Similarly the user can further narrow down the list using LogP, LogD, ALogP values etc.

Regular expressions

There are instances when the user will want to find a drug, protein etc but will not know the complete name of the molecule. DistilBio now allows the use of regular expressions to enable the user find the search term easily. For example, if a user wants to find all the “Gliptins” and is not sure of the names of the drugs, the query can now be built as follows:

Query: *gliptin

From the drop-down, select the type “Drug ending with” to indicate that the name of the drug ends with gliptin.

Results displayed below will show that there are 3 gliptins – Saxagliptin, Sitagliptin, Vildagliptin. All the links available for the drugs are also displayed in the facets.


Updated Data

Data has been updated for most datasets to the latest version available. Swissprot has been updated to the Dec 2012 release version. For a complete list of databases integrated in DistilBio have a look at the beats.

Protein domains

Protein domain data from Interpro has been added in DistilBio. Users can now query for proteins and find domains present in the protein and also find all proteins that contain a particular domain.

Query: cdk1_human > proteindomain

Results show 3 domains for the protein. For instance, if a user wants to find all proteins that contain the domain “Protein kinase, catalytic domain”, the user can extend the query by selecting the domain and clicking on extend and add the concept “protein” to the query.

Query: Protein kinase, catalytic domain > protein

This displays all proteins that contain the protein domain “Protein kinase, catalytic domain”

Small molecule Activity and assay data

Data from ChEMBL database has been updated to include data on bio-activities and assay. Users can now query for small molecules and their associated activities and also find bio-assays in which these compounds and activities have been measured.

Query: Compound > activity > assay

New properties for data from DrugBank and Swiss-Prot

DistilBio now covers most of the data available in DrugBank and Swiss-Prot.

New properties that have been added to the drug data from DrugBank include

  • Absorption
  • Brand Mixtures
  • Food Interactions
  • LogP
  • Manfacturer
  • Molecular Formula
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • pKa
  • Volume Of Distribution
  • Water Solubility

New connections and properties have also been added to protein data from Swiss-Prot. Connections that have been added include protein sites and regions like active site, binding site, metal binding regions, motifs etc. Users can also query for catalytic activities, PTM, induction, biophysicochemical properties such as Km, Vmax. Cross-references to databases covered in Swiss-Prot have also been included. For a complete list of connections and properties have a look at the of DistilBio.

We would love to hear your inputs on the latest release of DistilBio. You could respond to this blog or write to us at distilbio@metaome.com.

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