Database Commons a catalog of biological databases

Database Commons - PHI-base


Citations: 340

z-index 28.05

Short name PHI-base
Full name Pathogen-Host Interactions database
Description PHI-base is a web-accessible database that catalogues experimentally verified pathogenicity, virulence and effector genes from fungal, Oomycete and bacterial pathogens, which infect animal, plant, fungal and insect hosts. PHI-base is therfore an invaluable resource in the discovery of genes in medically and agronomically important pathogens, which may be potential targets for chemical intervention. In collaboration with the FRAC team, PHI-base also includes antifungal compounds and their target genes.
Year founded 2006
Last update & version 2016-10-03    v4.2
Availability Free to all users
University/Institution hosted Rothamsted Research
Address Harpenden,Herts,AL5 2JQ,UK
City Harpenden
Province/State Hertfordshire
Country/Region United Kingdom
Contact name Martin Urban
Contact email
Data type(s)
Major organism(s)
  • pathogen-host interaction
  • pathogenicity
  • virulence and effector gene
  • PHI-base: a new interface and further additions for the multi-species pathogen-host interactions database. [PMID: 27915230]

    Martin Urban, Alayne Cuzick, Kim Rutherford, Alistair Irvine, Helder Pedro, Rashmi Pant, Vidyendra Sadanadan, Lokanath Khamari, Santoshkumar Billal, Sagar Mohanty, Kim E Hammond-Kosack
    Nucleic acids research 2017:45(D1)
    1 Citations (Google Scholar as of 2017-02-17)

    Abstract: The pathogen-host interactions database (PHI-base) is available at PHI-base contains expertly curated molecular and biological information on genes proven to affect the outcome of pathogen-host interactions reported in peer reviewed research articles. In addition, literature that indicates specific gene alterations that did not affect the disease interaction phenotype are curated to provide complete datasets for comparative purposes. Viruses are not included. Here we describe a revised PHI-base Version 4 data platform with improved search, filtering and extended data display functions. A PHIB-BLAST search function is provided and a link to PHI-Canto, a tool for authors to directly curate their own published data into PHI-base. The new release of PHI-base Version 4.2 (October 2016) has an increased data content containing information from 2219 manually curated references. The data provide information on 4460 genes from 264 pathogens tested on 176 hosts in 8046 interactions. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens are represented in almost equal numbers. Host species belong ∼70% to plants and 30% to other species of medical and/or environmental importance. Additional data types included into PHI-base 4 are the direct targets of pathogen effector proteins in experimental and natural host organisms. The curation problems encountered and the future directions of the PHI-base project are briefly discussed. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  • The Pathogen-Host Interactions database (PHI-base): additions and future developments. [PMID: 25414340]

    Martin Urban, Rashmi Pant, Arathi Raghunath, Alistair G Irvine, Helder Pedro, Kim E Hammond-Kosack
    Nucleic acids research 2015:43(Database issue)
    42 Citations (Google Scholar as of 2017-02-17)

    Abstract: Rapidly evolving pathogens cause a diverse array of diseases and epidemics that threaten crop yield, food security as well as human, animal and ecosystem health. To combat infection greater comparative knowledge is required on the pathogenic process in multiple species. The Pathogen-Host Interactions database (PHI-base) catalogues experimentally verified pathogenicity, virulence and effector genes from bacterial, fungal and protist pathogens. Mutant phenotypes are associated with gene information. The included pathogens infect a wide range of hosts including humans, animals, plants, insects, fish and other fungi. The current version, PHI-base 3.6, available at, stores information on 2875 genes, 4102 interactions, 110 host species, 160 pathogenic species (103 plant, 3 fungal and 54 animal infecting species) and 181 diseases drawn from 1243 references. Phenotypic and gene function information has been obtained by manual curation of the peer-reviewed literature. A controlled vocabulary consisting of nine high-level phenotype terms permits comparisons and data analysis across the taxonomic space. PHI-base phenotypes were mapped via their associated gene information to reference genomes available in Ensembl Genomes. Virulence genes and hotspots can be visualized directly in genome browsers. Future plans for PHI-base include development of tools facilitating community-led curation and inclusion of the corresponding host target(s). © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  • PHI-base update: additions to the pathogen host interaction database. [PMID: 17942425]

    Rainer Winnenburg, Martin Urban, Andrew Beacham, Thomas K Baldwin, Sabrina Holland, Magdalen Lindeberg, Hilde Hansen, Christopher Rawlings, Kim E Hammond-Kosack, Jacob Köhler
    Nucleic acids research 2008:36(Database issue)
    113 Citations (Google Scholar as of 2017-02-17)

    Abstract: The pathogen-host interaction database (PHI-base) is a web-accessible database that catalogues experimentally verified pathogenicity, virulence and effector genes from bacterial, fungal and Oomycete pathogens, which infect human, animal, plant, insect, fish and fungal hosts. Plant endophytes are also included. PHI-base is therefore an invaluable resource for the discovery of genes in medically and agronomically important pathogens, which may be potential targets for chemical intervention. The database is freely accessible to both academic and non-academic users. This publication describes recent additions to the database and both current and future applications. The number of fields that characterize PHI-base entries has almost doubled. Important additional fields deal with new experimental methods, strain information, pathogenicity islands and external references that link the database to external resources, for example, gene ontology terms and Locus IDs. Another important addition is the inclusion of anti-infectives and their target genes that makes it possible to predict the compounds, that may interact with newly identified virulence factors. In parallel, the curation process has been improved and now involves several external experts. On the technical side, several new search tools have been provided and the database is also now distributed in XML format. PHI-base is available at:

  • The pathogen-host interactions database (PHI-base) provides insights into generic and novel themes of pathogenicity. [PMID: 17153929]

    Thomas K Baldwin, Rainer Winnenburg, Martin Urban, Chris Rawlings, Jacob Koehler, Kim E Hammond-Kosack
    Molecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI 2006:19(12)
    61 Citations (Google Scholar as of 2017-02-17)

    Abstract: Fungal and oomycete pathogens of plants and animals are a major global problem. In the last 15 years, many genes required for pathogenesis have been determined for over 50 different species. Other studies have characterized effector genes (previously termed avirulence genes) required to activate host responses. By studying these types of pathogen genes, novel targets for control can be revealed. In this report, we describe the Pathogen-Host Interactions database (PHI-base), which systematically compiles such pathogenicity genes involved in pathogen-host interactions. Here, we focus on the biology that underlies this computational resource: the nature of pathogen-host interactions, the experimental methods that exist for the characterization of such pathogen-host interactions as well as the available computational resources. Based on the data, we review and analyze the specific functions of pathogenicity genes, the host-specific nature of pathogenicity and virulence genes, and the generic mechanisms of effectors that trigger plant responses. We further discuss the utilization of PHI-base for the computational identification of pathogenicity genes through comparative genomics. In this context, the importance of standardizing pathogenicity assays as well as integrating databases to aid comparative genomics is discussed.

  • PHI-base: a new database for pathogen host interactions. [PMID: 16381911]

    Rainer Winnenburg, Thomas K Baldwin, Martin Urban, Chris Rawlings, Jacob Köhler, Kim E Hammond-Kosack
    Nucleic acids research 2006:34(Database issue)
    123 Citations (Google Scholar as of 2017-02-17)

    Abstract: To utilize effectively the growing number of verified genes that mediate an organism's ability to cause disease and/or to trigger host responses, we have developed PHI-base. This is a web-accessible database that currently catalogs 405 experimentally verified pathogenicity, virulence and effector genes from 54 fungal and Oomycete pathogens, of which 176 are from animal pathogens, 227 from plant pathogens and 3 from pathogens with a fungal host. PHI-base is the first on-line resource devoted to the identification and presentation of information on fungal and Oomycete pathogenicity genes and their host interactions. As such, PHI-base is a valuable resource for the discovery of candidate targets in medically and agronomically important fungal and Oomycete pathogens for intervention with synthetic chemistries and natural products. Each entry in PHI-base is curated by domain experts and supported by strong experimental evidence (gene/transcript disruption experiments) as well as literature references in which the experiments are described. Each gene in PHI-base is presented with its nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence as well as a detailed description of the predicted protein's function during the host infection process. To facilitate data interoperability, we have annotated genes using controlled vocabularies (Gene Ontology terms, Enzyme Commission Numbers and so on), and provide links to other external data sources (e.g. NCBI taxonomy and EMBL). We welcome new data for inclusion in PHI-base, which is freely accessed at

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Rate of accessibility:
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Disease DNA Interaction and Network
Eukaryota Fungus Prokaryote
pathogen-host interaction pathogenicity virulence and effector gene

Record metadata

  • Created on: 2015-06-20
  • Curated by:
    • Shixiang Sun [2017-02-17]
    • Shixiang Sun [2016-03-25]
    • Shixiang Sun [2015-11-21]
    • Jian Sang [2015-07-01]
    • Shixiang Sun [2015-06-26]