Motivation

A large variety of molecular interactions occurs between biomolecular components in cells. When a molecular interaction results in a regulatory effect, exerted by one component onto a downstream component, a so-called ‘causal interaction’ takes place. Causal interactions constitute the building blocks in our understanding of larger regulatory networks in cells. These causal interactions and the biological processes they enable (e.g. gene regulation) need to be described with a careful appreciation of the underlying molecular reactions. A proper description of this information enables archiving, sharing and reuse by humans and for automated computational processing. Various representations of causal relationships between biological components are currently used in a variety of resources.

Results

Here, we propose a checklist that accommodates current representations, called the Minimum Information about a Molecular Interaction CAusal STatement (MI2CAST). This checklist defines both the required core information, as well as a comprehensive set of other contextual details valuable to the end user and relevant for reusing and reproducing causal molecular interaction information. The MI2CAST checklist can be used as reporting guidelines when annotating and curating causal statements, while fostering uniformity and interoperability of the data across resources.

Availability and implementation

The checklist together with examples is accessible at https://github.com/MI2CAST/MI2CAST

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.