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J Chem Biol. 2011 Apr;4(2):55-68. doi: 10.1007/s12154-010-0051-5. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

In vivo analysis of compound activity and mechanism of action using epistasis in Drosophila.


The recent establishment of high-throughput methods for culturing Drosophila provided a unique ability to screen compound libraries against complex disease phenotypes in the context of whole animals. However, as compound studies in Drosophila have been limited so far, the degree of conservation of compound activity between Drosophila and vertebrates or the effectiveness of feeding as a compound delivery system is not well known. Our comprehensive in vivo analysis of 27 small molecules targeting seven signaling pathways in Drosophila revealed a high degree of conservation of compound activity between Drosophila and vertebrates. We also investigated the mechanism of action of AY9944, one of the Hh pathway antagonists that we identified in our compound feeding experiments. Our epistasis analysis of AY9944 provided novel insights into AY9944's mechanism of action and revealed a novel role for cholesterol transport in Hh signal transduction.


The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12154-010-0051-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Chemical genetics; Compound feeding; Drosophila; Drug discovery; Signal transduction

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