Workflow ASR

Preparing for using GRASP

Install key programs

Below, instructions assume a UNIX like environment; MacOS is one and so is Linux, but Windows is not. Cygwin is a suite of tools that installs under Windows to provide a lot of the same command-like functionality.

Decide on a namespace/reference database, e.g. UniProt

  • Source for identifiers from, key annotations, etc. Every sequence will (ideally) have an identifier from this source.

Collect key proteins: two tiers

  • Tier 1: “Guide” entries, proteins that are required in the final data set

    Collect as FASTA or name list, e.g. collect_tier1.fa; if identifiers or sequence are not known we will find them using a BLAST search from our reference database below.

  • Tier-2: POI entries (proteins of interest), prioritise inclusion, but if redundant, choose one

    Collect as FASTA or name list, e.g. collect_tier2.fa; like above, identifiers/sequences will be retrieved using a BLAST search

  • Devise a strategy with which a root can be placed in the eventual phylogenetic tree and amend Tier-1 and Tier-2 lists; this might involve having examplars in Tier-1 and Tier-2 that can work as outgroups or anchor points (by reference to published phylogenetic tree of the same family)

Download all members of protein family

  • In UniProt, decide on a family identifier, e.g. “DapA”, and remove questionable entries, e.g. sequence fragments
  • Execute search and download as FASTA, e.g. go to type in query family:"dapa family" fragment:no, download as FASTA, save as db-100.fa (“100” because it is 100% of the family.)

Create BLAST database

  • makeblastdb (program part of BLASTx suite) on db-100
    • For example, makeblastdb -dbtype prot -in db-100.fa -out db-100

Create Tier-1 and Tier-2 files

  • Use the BLAST database db-100 to re-generate Tier-1 and Tier-2 files, so they are associated with identifiers and sequences from reference database
    • For example, blastp -db db-100 -outfmt 3 -num_descriptions 1 -num_alignments 0 -num_threads 5 -query collect_tier1.fa -out tier-1.txt -evalue 1e-100; this will find the sequence with the highest similarity to that given, provided it is statistically supported at E=1e-100
    • Extract sequence identifiers from BLAST report, e.g. grep -e "^[st][pr]" tier-1.txt | cut -d' ' -f1 >; from this create tier-1.fa

Constrain representation of protein family using key proteins

  • Use program such as CD-HIT to filter sequences at different levels of redundancy allowed, e.g. 99%, 95%, 90%, 50% (we call these db-99, db-95, etc)

    • For example, cd-hit -i db-100.fa -c 0.99 -T 5 -o db-99 -d 0 generates a file db-99.clstr; We do not use the FASTA file created by CD-HIT
    • For each sequence similarity “cluster” identified (in db-99.clstr), keep all Tier-1 entries, when no Tier-1 entries are in the cluster, keep exactly one Tier-2 entry if available; only when no Tier-1 or Tier-2 entries are in the cluster, pick an entry randomly [this step needs to be automated]; from this, create db-99.fa, db-95.fa, etc
  • Make BLAST databases for each redundancy level, db-99, db-95, etc

    • makeblastdb -dbtype prot -in db-99.fa -out db-99

Create datasets

  • Search Tier-1 entries in db-100 including all homologs closer than a given E-value (e.g. 1e-100)
    • For example, blastp -db db-100 -outfmt 3 -num_descriptions 20000 -num_alignments 0 -num_threads 5 -query tier-1.fa -out dataset-99.txt -evalue 1e-100
    • Extract sequence identifiers from BLAST report, e.g. grep -e "^[st][pr]" dataset-1.txt | cut -d' ' -f1 >; from this create dataset-1.fa
    • Mark Tier-1 and Tier-2 entries in dataset, with distinctive labels etc so that they can be searched for later
  • Try different combinations of redundancy levels (db-99, db-95, …) and E-value thresholds (1e-100, 1e-75, 1e-50, 1e-10, etc) to construct alternative datasets
    • Redundancy level will control how dense the overall sequence composition will be
    • E-value threshold will control how closely we sample around the Tier-1 entries

Perform sequence alignment

  • Use multiple sequence alignment program to establish homologous positions between all entries in a dataset

    • For example, clustalo -i dataset-1.fa -o dataset-1.aln --output-order=tree-order --threads=5 --force
  • Inspect alignment to evaluate quality

    • For example, use AliView, zoom out so the whole alignment can be viewed
  • Check for sole-sequence insertions (and deletions), and remove if incorrectly aligned, and disruptive of the the overall alignment; re-run alignment once cleaned

Perform phylogenetic tree inference

  • Use tree inference program to create an unrooted phylogenetic tree
    • For example, FastTree -nosupport -out dataset-1_unrooted.nwk dataset-1.fa
  • Inspect tree to place a root and to evaluate quality
    • For example, use FigTree or Archaeopteryx
  • Search for markers of Tier-1 and Tier-2 entries to find appropriate place for root, placed at branch point in unrooted tree