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Logo of nihpaAbout Author manuscriptsSubmit a manuscriptNIH Public Access; Author Manuscript; Accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal;
Nat Genet. Author manuscript; available in PMC Sep 1, 2009.
Published in final edited form as:
Published online Feb 22, 2009. doi:  10.1038/ng.337
PMCID: PMC2733244
NIHMSID: NIHMS109939

Bridging the gap between high-throughput genetic and transcriptional data reveals cellular pathways responding to alpha-synuclein toxicity

Abstract

Cells respond to stimuli by changes in various processes, including signaling pathways and gene expression. Efforts to identify components of these responses increasingly depend on mRNA profiling and genetic library screens, yet the functional roles of the genes identified by these assays often remain enigmatic. By comparing the results of these two assays across various cellular responses, we found that they are consistently distinct. Moreover, genetic screens tend to identify response regulators, while mRNA profiling frequently detects metabolic responses. We developed an integrative approach that bridges the gap between these data using known molecular interactions, thus highlighting major response pathways. We harnessed this approach to reveal cellular pathways related to alpha-synuclein, a small lipid-binding protein implicated in several neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson disease. For this we screened an established yeast model for alpha-synuclein toxicity to identify genes that when overexpressed alter cellular survival. Application of our algorithm to these data and data from mRNA profiling provided functional explanations for many of these genes and revealed novel relations between alpha-synuclein toxicity and basic cellular pathways.

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