AbstractT-cells are a subtype of white blood cells circulating throughout the body, searching for infected and abnormal cells. They have multifaceted functions that include scanning for and directly killing cells infected with intracellular pathogens, eradicating abnormal cells, orchestrating immune response by activating and helping other immune cells, memorizing encountered pathogens, and providing long-lasting protection upon recurrent infections. However, T-cells are also involved in immune responses that result in organ transplant rejection, autoimmune diseases, and some allergic diseases. To support T-cell research, we developed the DES-Tcell knowledgebase (KB). This KB incorporates text- and data-mined information that can expedite retrieval and exploration of T-cell relevant information from the large volume of published T-cell-related research. This KB enables exploration of data through concepts from 15 topic-specific dictionaries, including immunology-related genes, mutations, pathogens, and pathways. We developed three case studies using DES-Tcell, one of which validates effective retrieval of known associations by DES-Tcell. The second and third case studies focuses on concepts that are common to Grave’s disease (GD) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT). Several reports have shown that up to 20% of GD patients treated with antithyroid medication develop HT, thus suggesting a possible conversion or shift from GD to HT disease. DES-Tcell found miR-4442 links to both GD and HT, and that miR-4442 possibly targets the autoimmune disease risk factor CD6, which provides potential new knowledge derived through the use of DES-Tcell. According to our understanding, DES-Tcell is the first KB dedicated to exploring T-cell-relevant information via literature-mining, data-mining, and topic-specific dictionaries.
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