Sentinel Interaction Mapping (SIM) - A generic approach for the functional analysis of human disease gene variants using yeast

Barry P Young, Kathryn L Post, Jesse T Chao, Fabian Meili, Kurt Haas, Christopher J R Loewen
Disease Models & Mechanisms 2020 May 29
Advances in sequencing technology have led to an explosion in the number of known genetic variants of human genes. A major challenge is to now determine which of these variants contribute to diseases as a result of their effect on gene function. Here we describe a generic approach using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to quickly develop gene-specific in vivo assays that can be used to quantify the level of function of a genetic variant. Using Synthetic Dosage Lethality screening, "sentinel" yeast strains are identified that are sensitive to overexpression of a human disease gene. Variants of the gene can then be functionalized in high-throughput fashion through simple growth assays using either solid or liquid media. Sentinel Interaction Mapping (SIM) has the potential to create functional assays for the large majority of human disease genes that do not have a yeast orthologue. Using the tumour suppressor gene PTEN as an example, we show that SIM assays can provide a fast and economical means to screen a large number of genetic variants.

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