Background: The rapid progress of post-genomic analyses, such as transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics has resulted in the generation of large amounts of quantitative data covering and connecting the complete cascade from genotype to phenotype for individual organisms. Various benefits can be achieved when these ''Omics'' data are integrated, such as the identification of unknown gene functions or the elucidation of regulatory networks of whole organisms. In order to be able to obtain deeper insights in the generated datasets, it is of utmost importance to present the data to the researcher in an intuitive, integrated, and knowledge-based environment. Therefore, various visualization paradigms have been established during the last years. The visualization of ''Omics'' data using metabolic pathway maps is intuitive and has been applied in various software tools. It has become obvious that the application of web-based and user driven software tools has great potential and benefits from the use of open and standardized formats for the description of pathways. Results: In order to combine datasets from heterogeneous ''Omics'' sources, we present the web-based ProMeTra system that visualizes and combines datasets from transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics on user defined metabolic pathway maps. Therefore, structured exchange of data with our ''Omics'' applications Emma 2, Qupe and MeltDB is employed. Enriched SVG images or animations are generated and can be obtained via the user friendly web interface. To demonstrate the functionality of ProMeTra, we use quantitative data obtained during a fermentation experiment of the L-lysine producing strain Corynebacterium glutamicum DM1730. During fermentation, oxygen supply was switched off in order to perturb the system and observe its reaction. At six different time points, transcript abundances, intracellular metabolite pools, as well as extracellular glucose, lactate, and L-lysine levels were determined. Conclusion: The interpretation and visualization of the results of this complex experiment was facilitated by the ProMeTra software. Both transcriptome and metabolome data were visualized on a metabolic pathway map. Visual inspection of the combined data confirmed existing knowledge but also delivered novel correlations that are of potential biotechnological importance.
The document is publicly available on the WWW.