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PathBank is an interactive, visual database containing more than 600 000 machine-readable pathways found in model organisms such as humans, mice, E. coli, yeast, and Arabidopsis thaliana. The majority of these pathways are not found in any other pathway database. PathBank aims to provide a pathway for every protein and a map for every metabolite. PathBank is designed specifically to support pathway elucidation and pathway discovery in metabolomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and systems biology. It is able to do so, in part, by providing detailed, fully searchable, hyperlinked diagrams of metabolic, signalling, disease, drug, and physiological pathways. All PathBank pathways include information on the relevant organelles, subcellular compartments, protein complex cofactors, protein complex locations, metabolite locations, chemical structures, and protein complex quaternary structures. Each small molecule is hyperlinked to detailed descriptions contained in the HMDB or DrugBank and each protein complex or enzyme complex is hyperlinked to UniProt. All PathBank pathways are accompanied with detailed descriptions and references, providing an overview of the pathway, condition, or processes depicted in each diagram. The database is easily browsed and supports full text, sequence, and chemical structure searching. Users may query PathBank with lists of metabolite names, drug names, genes/protein complex names, SwissProt IDs, GenBank IDs, Affymetrix IDs, or Agilent microarray IDs. These queries will produce lists of matching pathways and highlight the matching molecules on each of the pathway diagrams. Gene, metabolite, and protein complex concentration data can also be visualized through PathBank's mapping interface. Each of PathBank's images, descriptions, and tables are downloadable in several formats. PathBank is made available under the Open Database License.

PathBank is supported by Dr. David Wishart of the Departments of Computing Science & Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.

PathBank is also supported by The Metabolomics Innovation Centre, a Genome Canada-funded core facility serving the scientific community and industry with world-class expertise and cutting-edge technologies in metabolomics.

The PathBank interface is modeled to some extent after the interface used for DrugBank and the HMDB with a navigation bar for browsing, searching, and downloading the database. On the navigation bar is a text query box that supports text queries of the entire textual component of the database. PathBank may be browsed by pathway, chemical compound, and protein complex. The pathway browse view generates a tabular synopsis of PathBank's content with thumbnail images of the pathway diagrams, textual descriptions of the pathway, as well as lists of the corresponding chemical components and enzyme/protein complex components. This browse view allows users to casually scroll through the database, select different pathway categories, or re-sort its contents. Clicking on a given thumbnail image or its corresponding pathway button brings up a full-screen image for the selected pathway. Once opened, the pathway image may be navigated using the zoom and scroll buttons. As with most pathway databases, all of the chemical structures and proteins illustrated in PathBank's diagrams are hyperlinked to other online databases or tables. PathBank pathways can be visualized with full colour and detail or simplified into a black and white diagram with nodes and edges. Users may download pathways in image (SVG, PNG) and textual data exchange formats (BioPAX, SBGN, SBML, PWML), as well as chemical compound and protein complex information (including structures and sequences) on the downloads page.

Path-MAP can be used for multiple entity highlighting and mapping. In particular, Path-MAP allows users to enter lists of chemical names, gene names, protein complex names, UniProt IDs, GenBank IDs, Agilent IDs, or Affymetrix IDs and to have a table generated of pathways containing those components. The resulting table displays a thumbnail image of the matching pathways along with the list of matching components (metabolites, drugs, protein complexes, etc.). The table is ordered by the number of matches, with the pathway having the most matches being at the top. Clicking on the thumbnail image or the PathBank pathway button brings up a full-screen image for the corresponding pathway with all the matching components (metabolites, drugs, protein complexes, etc.) highlighted in red. Path-MAP is particularly useful for analyzing metabolomics, proteomics, or transcriptomics data.

PathBank's Search menu offers users a choice of searching the database by text (TextQuery), chemical structure (ChemQuery), or sequence (Sequence Search). The Advanced Text Search provides instructions for searching the text portion of PathBank. The text search supports Boolean logic (AND, OR, and NOT operations) along with field-specific searches covering compound names, protein names, compound/protein identifiers, pathway names, and pathway descriptions. The ChemQuery Structure Search option allows users to draw (using MarvinSketch applet) or write (using a SMILES string) a chemical compound and to search PathBank for drugs and metabolites similar or identical to the query compound. The Sequence Search button allows users to conduct BLASTP (protein complex) sequence searches of the protein complex sequences contained in PathBank. Both single and multiple sequence (i.e. whole proteome) BLAST queries are supported.

Comparison Stats

PathBank 1.0 PathBank 2.0 KEGG Reactome Wiki-Pathways BioCarta
Number of Organisms 10 10 6076 16 31 2
Number of Pathways 109,836 605,359 653,007 20,882 2785 590
Average Number Pathways/Organism 10,984 60,5359 107 1305 90 295
Has Protein Pathways Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Has Metabolic Pathways Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Number of Pathways (Homo sapiens) 48,701 194,705 335 2227 1102 314
Number of Pathways (E.coli) 1134 1156 119 0 12 0
Number of Pathways (A. thaliana) 3356 3367 138 0 93 0
Number of Pathways (Mus musculus) 12,651 188,700 331 1649 225 276
Hyperlinked Proteins/Genes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hyperlinked Metabolites Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Number of Disease Pathways 20,692 20,875 91 411 118 5
Number of Signaling Pathways 64 66 65 718 211 39
Number of Drug Action Pathways 404 1844 75 46 39 0
Compound Descriptions Yes Yes No No No No
Protein Descriptions Yes Yes No No No No
Pathway Summaries Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Average Word Count per Summary 342 213 68 179 143 0
Average Reference Count per Pathway 12 3 14 3 8 0
Rich Visual Display Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Displays Protein 4° Structure Yes Yes No Yes No No
Deisplays Metabolite Structure Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Displays Cellular Organelles Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Displays Cellular Locations Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Displays Organs/Tissues Yes Yes No Yes (in EHLDs) No No
Multicolored Pathways Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Multiple Pathway Views Yes Yes No No No No
Number of Pathway Image Formats 2 2 1 6 7 1
XML Compatible Yes Yes KGML Yes Yes No
SBML Compatible Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
BioPAX Compatible Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
'Google Maps' Interactivity Yes Yes No Yes No No
Community Editable Yes Yes No No Yes No
Open Access/Free Download Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Integrated with Other Apps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Citing PathBank

PathBank is offered to the public as a freely available resource. Use and re-distribution of the data, in whole or in part, for commercial purposes requires explicit permission of the authors and explicit acknowledgment of the source material (PathBank) and the original publication (see below). We ask that users who download significant portions of the database cite the PathBank paper in any resulting publications.

  1. Wishart DS, Li C, Marcu A, et al. PathBank: A Comprehensive Pathway Database for Model Organisms. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Jan 8;48(D1):D470-D478.
  2. Wishart DS, Kruger R, Sivakumaran A, et al. PathBank 2.0 - The Pathway Database for Model Organism Metabolomics. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 Jan 5;52(D1):D654-D662.