Pathway collages: personalized multi-pathway diagrams


Paley “S., O’Maille P. E., Weaver D., Karp” P. D. Pathway collages: personalized multi-pathway diagrams. BMC Bioinformatics, vol. 17, no. 1, p. 529, 2016.



Metabolic pathway diagrams are a classical way of visualizing a linked cascade of biochemical reactions. However, to understand some biochemical situations, viewing a single pathway is insufficient, whereas viewing the entire metabolic network results in information overload. How do we enable scientists to rapidly construct personalized multi-pathway diagrams that depict a desired collection of interacting pathways that emphasize particular pathway interactions?


We define software for constructing personalized multi-pathway diagrams called pathway-collages using a combination of manual and automatic layouts. The user specifies a set of pathways of interest for the collage from a Pathway/Genome Database. Layouts for the individual pathways are generated by the Pathway Tools software, and are sent to a Javascript Pathway Collage application implemented using Cytoscape.js. That application allows the user to re-position pathways; define connections between pathways; change visual style parameters; and paint metabolomics, gene expression, and reaction flux data onto the collage to obtain a desired multi-pathway diagram. We demonstrate the use of pathway collages in two application areas: a metabolomics study of pathogen drug response, and an Escherichia coli metabolic model.


Pathway collages enable facile construction of personalized multi-pathway diagrams.

Keywords: Metabolic pathways, Visualization, Pathway diagram.

Read more from SRI