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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 348725, 12 pages
Research Article

Developing eThread Pipeline Using SAGA-Pilot Abstraction for Large-Scale Structural Bioinformatics

1RADICAL, ECE, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
2Center for Computation and Technology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
3Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA

Received 6 March 2014; Accepted 8 May 2014; Published 9 June 2014

Academic Editor: Daniele D’Agostino

Copyright © 2014 Anjani Ragothaman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While most of computational annotation approaches are sequence-based, threading methods are becoming increasingly attractive because of predicted structural information that could uncover the underlying function. However, threading tools are generally compute-intensive and the number of protein sequences from even small genomes such as prokaryotes is large typically containing many thousands, prohibiting their application as a genome-wide structural systems biology tool. To leverage its utility, we have developed a pipeline for eThread—a meta-threading protein structure modeling tool, that can use computational resources efficiently and effectively. We employ a pilot-based approach that supports seamless data and task-level parallelism and manages large variation in workload and computational requirements. Our scalable pipeline is deployed on Amazon EC2 and can efficiently select resources based upon task requirements. We present runtime analysis to characterize computational complexity of eThread and EC2 infrastructure. Based on results, we suggest a pathway to an optimized solution with respect to metrics such as time-to-solution or cost-to-solution. Our eThread pipeline can scale to support a large number of sequences and is expected to be a viable solution for genome-scale structural bioinformatics and structure-based annotation, particularly, amenable for small genomes such as prokaryotes. The developed pipeline is easily extensible to other types of distributed cyberinfrastructure.