The Ribo-DB project is one of the flagship projects of our team, it involves four researchers, 2 engineers and one doctoral student.

The ribosomal proteins are increasingly used because their number (90 proteins), the low probability of horizontal transfer, their scalable features make it an indispensable tools for the study of the evolution of organisms (phylogeny to large scale or short evolutionary scale). Furthermore, these proteins are used in the identification of pathogenic bacteria with MALDI-TOF mass-spectrometry and are also potential targets for PCR amplication in diagnostic tools.

No basic general databank (EMBL, GenBank) contains a comprehensive and validated set of such protein sequences. After the creation of an identication engine for these proteins using pattern recognition tools, cross-validation and retro-validation of these proteins in even not completely annotated genomes, we up the first online database of ribosomal protein, Ribo-DB. The paper has been published in Molecular Biology and Evolution [Jauffrit et al., 2015].

The website uses classACNUC, a Python-class that I developed with Manolo Gouy to query the ribo-DB database but also other ACNUC database.

In the Ribo-DB team I am responsible for operating algorithms of the database, but also for the overall integration and the organization of servers. I am also in charge of the application face of the work and was the basis for the involvement of bioMérieux in the project (ANRT CIFRE PhD F. Jauffrit).

In addition to the development of this project and its deployment we can use its contents for scientific publications. We have ongoing reanalysis of evolutionary relationships of Actinobacteria (Figure below) and within this, the case of Mycobacteria wich is medically important.

Understanding the emergence of the most pathogenic groups (Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae) will be addressed with this new tool.


The BIBI project began in 2003 and was renewed in 2007-2008 and continuous improvements are made every year. It involves four researchers and an engineer.

Construction of the SSU-rDNA (16S-23S) database

The process has been optimized and fully automatized during the summer of 2018. The non-coding RNA sequence database RNAcentral is now the source of the sequences and of most of the information. RNAcentral database is made of unique sequences with an unique identifier URSnnnn so one URS may gather multiple identical sequences. This is a negative point: identical sequences may correspond to various taxonomical levels. But there are many positive point: No duplicates and a reduced collection of RNA, Quality-Control, indication of the strand.
The source of information concerning Type Strains sequences is now both SILVA and LPSN and the taxonomy DB is now the EMBL-ENA taxonomy.
The key point is the now the use of logical rules to give a relevant name to sequences sharing the same URS.

Construction of the CDS Database

Every three months, sequences are extracted from GenBank and compiled into leBIBI databases (BIBI-DB) using the ACNUC biological sequence database system ACNUC biological sequence database system .
ACNUC provides powerful and fast querying and retrieval from a variety of nucleotide and protein sequence databases, including EMBL, GenBank and RefSeq. The ACNUC system is designed to allow most fields of the sequence annotations to be used as entry points to the databases and combined in complex queries. These are elaborated using ACNUC query language that allows expression- and logical operator-based combination of retrieval criteria. Each query generates the list of all matching elements in the queried database.
The Python class classACNUC automates the query processing and merges relevant information extracted from the database sequence description data (taxonomy, strain, lengths, position etc) in a compact format in the `FASTA commentary line`. It also allows the filtering of the sequences according to length. The resulting files are thus more readily usable for further analysis. `classACNUC` relies on the `ACNUC Python API . See leBIBI-PPF site for an application. This python class was initially designed for the leBIBI-QBPP and riboDB database construction engines. A general-use version of `classAcnuc` is available upon request.

The databases

Several databases devoted to various markers are integrated in leBIBIQBPP. The largest one is for SSU rDNA. Others are smaller databases of general interest (rpoB) and databases that are relevant for a restricted spectrum of bacteria or for niche applications (e.g., sodA, groEL2). Note that other databases devoted to specific applications or research projects are also available upon request.

The SSU rDNA databases have five “flavors”:

The major advantage is that the databases are all subsets of the database "lax" and combining a very restrictive level (genusonly) and a wider level (TS-stringent) makes a representation at a large evolutionary scale while allowing also a high resolution around a group of interest.

Coupled with the leBIBI-QBPP query tool such databases enable to optimize the phylogenetic position of an unknown sequence.

Phylogeny-driven database reduction

All libraries of sequences or genomes grow exponentially but if the amount of information increases, the relevant information is diluted or polluted. The challenge is to maintain simple operating conditions despite the explosion of data quantities and the redundancy of information. A form of reduction of the number of contained objects must be introduced.

Examples: The number of Actinobacteria [phylum] sequences in RiboDb is close to 8000. A manual selection of the relevant sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of the phylum is no longer possible. There are over 5000 Mycobacteria, how to easily select the ideal sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of this family? The database and the extraction process must be designed to simplify/organise the phylogeny reconstruction process.

For a database for phylogeny, information must be eliminated by ensuring that it can not improve phylogenetic reconstruction because of a certain level of redundancy with information remaining in the sequence database. A stratified sampling using the phylogenetic distance between objects of the base as a criterion may be the solution. This is what I am experimenting for the leBIBI databases and those of the Ribo-DB project in 2018.

Note that the construction of hierarchical databases (using known taxonomic information as in leBIBI-DB) is already a reduction without loss of phylogenetic information because the taxonomic level clearly indicates the strategy of conservation: all the sequences of the same species can be represented by a sequence which becomes the proxy of the taxonomic level.