LCGbase: A Comprehensive Database for Lineage-Based Co-regulated Genes.
Animal genes of different lineages, such as vertebrates and arthropods, are well-organized and blended into dynamic chromosomal structures that represent a primary regulatory mechanism for body development and cellular differentiation. The majority of genes in a genome are actually clustered, which are evolutionarily stable to different extents and biologically meaningful when evaluated among genomes within and across lineages. Until now, many questions concerning gene organization, such as what is the minimal number of genes in a cluster and what is the driving force leading to gene co-regulation, remain to be addressed. Here, we provide a user-friendly database-LCGbase (a comprehensive database for lineage-based co-regulated genes)-hosting information on evolutionary dynamics of gene clustering and ordering within animal kingdoms in two different lineages: vertebrates and arthropods. The database is constructed on a web-based Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP framework and effective interactive user-inquiry service. Compared to other gene annotation databases with similar purposes, our database has three comprehensible advantages. First, our database is inclusive, including all high-quality genome assemblies of vertebrates and representative arthropod species. Second, it is human-centric since we map all gene clusters from other genomes in an order of lineage-ranks (such as primates, mammals, warm-blooded, and reptiles) onto human genome and start the database from well-defined gene pairs (a minimal cluster where the two adjacent genes are oriented as co-directional, convergent, and divergent pairs) to large gene clusters. Furthermore, users can search for any adjacent genes and their detailed annotations. Third, the database provides flexible parameter definitions, such as the distance of transcription start sites between two adjacent genes, which is extendable to genes that flanking the cluster across species. We also provide useful tools for sequence alignment, gene ontology (GO) annotation, promoter identification, gene expression (co-expression), and evolutionary analysis. This database not only provides a way to define lineage-specific and species-specific gene clusters but also facilitates future studies on gene co-regulation, epigenetic control of gene expression (DNA methylation and histone marks), and chromosomal structures in a context of gene clusters and species evolution. LCGbase is freely available at http://lcgbase.big.ac.cn/LCGbase.