Ewan Birney


Bio::Tools::BPlite - Lightweight BLAST parser


 use Bio::Tools::BPlite;
 my $report = new Bio::Tools::BPlite(-fh=>\*STDIN);

    while(my $sbjct = $report->nextSbjct) {
        while (my $hsp = $sbjct->nextHSP) {

    # the following line takes you to the next report in the stream/file
    # it will return 0 if that report is empty,
    # but that is valid for an empty blast report.
    # Returns -1 for EOF.

    last if ($report->_parseHeader == -1);


BPlite is a package for parsing BLAST reports. The BLAST programs are a family of widely used algorithms for sequence database searches. The reports are non-trivial to parse, and there are differences in the formats of the various flavors of BLAST. BPlite parses BLASTN, BLASTP, BLASTX, TBLASTN, and TBLASTX reports from both the high performance WU-BLAST, and the more generic NCBI-BLAST.

Many people have developed BLAST parsers (I myself have made at least three). BPlite is for those people who would rather not have a giant object specification, but rather a simple handle to a BLAST report that works well in pipes.


BPlite has three kinds of objects, the report, the subject, and the HSP. To create a new report, you pass a filehandle reference to the BPlite constructor.

 my $report = new Bio::Tools::BPlite(-fh=>\*STDIN); # or any other filehandle

The report has two attributes (query and database), and one method (nextSbjct).

 $report->query;     # access to the query name
 $report->database;  # access to the database name
 $report->nextSbjct; # gets the next subject
 while(my $sbjct = $report->nextSbjct) {
     # canonical form of use is in a while loop

A subject is a BLAST hit, which should not be confused with an HSP (below). A BLAST hit may have several alignments associated with it. A useful way of thinking about it is that a subject is a gene and HSPs are the exons. Subjects have one attribute (name) and one method (nextHSP).

 $sbjct->name;    # access to the subject name
 $sbjct->nextHSP; # gets the next HSP from the sbjct
 while(my $hsp = $sbjct->nextHSP) {
     # canonical form is again a while loop

An HSP is a high scoring pair, or simply an alignment. HSP objects inherit all the useful methods from RangeI/SeqFeatureI/FeaturePair, but provide an additional set of attributes (score, bits, percent, P, match, positive, length, querySeq, sbjctSeq, homologySeq) that should be familiar to anyone who has seen a blast report.

For lazy/efficient coders, two-letter abbreviations are available for the attributes with long names (qs, ss, hs). Ranges of the aligned sequences in query/subject and other information (like seqname) are stored in SeqFeature objects (i.e.: $hsp->query, $hsp->subject which is equal to $hsp->feature1, $hsp->feature2). querySeq, sbjctSeq and homologySeq do only contain the alignment sequences from the blast report.

 $hsp->querySeq;      $hsp->qs;
 $hsp->sbjctSeq;      $hsp->ss;
 $hsp->homologySeq;   $hsp->hs;
 $hsp->hit->primary_tag; # "similarity"
 $hsp->hit->source_tag;  # "BLAST"

So a very simple look into a BLAST report might look like this.

 my $report = new Bio::Tools::BPlite(-fh=>\*STDIN);
 while(my $sbjct = $report->nextSbjct) {
     print ">",$sbjct->name,"\n";
     while(my $hsp = $sbjct->nextHSP) {
                print "\t",$hsp->start,"..",$hsp->end," ",$hsp->bits,"\n";

The output of such code might look like this:

     100..155 29.5
     268..300 20.1
     100..153 28.5
     265..290 22.1


Ian Korf (ikorf@sapiens.wustl.edu, http://sapiens.wustl.edu/~ikorf), Lorenz Pollak (lorenz@ist.org, bioperl port)


This software was developed at the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington Univeristy, St. Louis, MO.


Jason Stajich, jason@cgt.mc.duke.edu


Copyright (C) 1999 Ian Korf. All Rights Reserved.


This software is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind.


 Title   : new
 Function: Create a new Bio::Tools::BPlite object
 Returns : Bio::Tools::BPlite
 Args    : -file     input file (alternative to -fh)
           -fh       input stream (alternative to -file)


 Title   : next_feature
 Usage   : while( my $feat = $res->next_feature ) { # do something }
 Function: SeqAnalysisParserI implementing function. This implementation
           iterates over all HSPs. If the HSPs of the current subject match
           are exhausted, it will automatically call nextSbjct().
 Example :
 Returns : A Bio::SeqFeatureI compliant object, in this case a
           Bio::Tools::BPlite::HSP object, and FALSE if there are no more
 Args    : None


 Title    : query
 Usage    : $query = $obj->query();
 Function : returns the query object
 Example  :
 Returns  : query object
 Args     :


 Title    : qlength
 Usage    : $len = $obj->qlength();
 Function : returns the length of the query 
 Example  :
 Returns  : length of query
 Args     :


 Title    : pattern
 Usage    : $pattern = $obj->pattern();
 Function : returns the pattern used in a PHIBLAST search


 Title    : query_pattern_location
 Usage    : $qpl = $obj->query_pattern_location();
 Function : returns reference to array of locations in the query sequence
            of pattern used in a PHIBLAST search


 Title    : database
 Usage    : $db = $obj->database();
 Function : returns the database used in this search
 Example  :
 Returns  : database used for search
 Args     :


 Title    : nextSbjct
 Usage    : $sbjct = $obj->nextSbjct();
 Function : Method of iterating through all the Sbjct retrieved 
            from parsing the report 
 Example  : while ( my $sbjct = $obj->nextSbjct ) {}
 Returns  : next Sbjct object or null if finished
 Args     :