Importance of curation in Reactome pathways and layout optimization using Lipid Metabolism as example

Graphical representation of biochemical and cellular processes as pathways imply an accurate storage, exchange, visualization and reuse of information for all kinds of biological knowledge.

Curation of this biological knowledge involves researching different biological models, verifying its reliability and annotating it with metadata. This process is not only laborious, but it also needs to fulfil several requirements. Manually curated data requires high-quality documentation as well as a suitable degree of correspondence with the encoded model. In addition, this interpretation needs to be logical and intuitive in order to make it easier to understand. However, sometimes the design of an intelligible pathway layout could be hindered by the accomplishment of these requirements.

Reactome is a database of freely accessible curated human biological pathways, representing many areas of biology in a consistently curated manner. Here we present the fully reworked and optimized “Lipid Metabolism” pathway layout. We also propose a standard representation of curated global pathways that could help improve their understanding by scientists.