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The Pathogen-annotated Tracking Resource Network (PATRN) system: A web-based resource to aid food safety, regulatory science, and investigations of foodborne pathogens and disease

Gopinath, G., Hari, K., Jain, R., Mammel, M.K., Kothary, M.H., Franco, A.A., Grim, C.J., Jarvis, K.G., Sathyamoorthy, V., Hu, L., Datta, A.R., Patel, I.R., Jackson, S.A., Gangiredla, J., Kotewicz, M.L., LeClerc, J.E., Wekell, M., McCardell, B.A., Solomotis, M.D., Tall, B.D.
Food microbiology 2013 v.34 no.2 pp. 303-318
Cronobacter sakazakii, Escherichia coli O157, Internet, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica, Shigella, Vibrio, analytical methods, data collection, food pathogens, food safety, foodborne illness, genes, microarray technology, monitoring, outbreak investigation, serotypes, single nucleotide polymorphism, virulence, United States
Investigation of foodborne diseases requires the capture and analysis of time-sensitive information on microbial pathogens that is derived from multiple analytical methods and sources. The web-based Pathogen-annotated Tracking Resource Network (PATRN) system ( was developed to address the data aggregation, analysis, and communication needs important to the global food safety community for the investigation of foodborne disease. PATRN incorporates a standard vocabulary for describing isolate metadata and provides a representational schema for a prototypic data exchange standard using a novel data loading wizard for aggregation of assay and attribution information. PATRN currently houses expert-curated, high-quality “foundational datasets” consisting of published experimental results from conventional assays and next generation analysis platforms for isolates of Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio and Cronobacter species. A suite of computational tools for data mining, clustering, and graphical representation is available. Within PATRN, the public curated data repository is complemented by a secure private workspace for user-driven analyses, and for sharing data among collaborators. To demonstrate the data curation, loading wizard features, and analytical capabilities of PATRN, three use-case scenarios are presented. Use-case scenario one is a comparison of the distribution and prevalence of plasmid-encoded virulence factor genes among 249 Cronobacter strains with similar attributes to that of nine Cronobacter isolates from recent cases obtained between March and October, 2010–2011. To highlight PATRN's data management and trend finding tools, analysis of datasets, stored in PATRN as part of an ongoing surveillance project to identify the predominant molecular serogroups among Cronobacter sakazakii isolates observed in the USA is shown. Use-case scenario two demonstrates the secure workspace available for private users to upload and analyze sensitive data, and for collating cross-platform datasets to identify and validate congruent datapoints. SNP datasets from WGS assemblies and pan-genome microarrays are analyzed in a combinatorial fashion to determine relatedness of 33 Salmonella enterica strains to six strains collected as part of an outbreak investigation. Use-case scenario three utilizes published surveillance results that describe the incidence and sources of O157:H7 E. coli isolates associated with a produce pre-harvest surveillance study that occurred during 2002–2006. In summary, PATRN is a web-based integrated platform containing tools for the management, analysis and visualization of data about foodborne pathogens.