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Front Genet. 2012 Apr 19;3:63. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2012.00063. eCollection 2012.

Yeast toxicogenomics: genome-wide responses to chemical stresses with impact in environmental health, pharmacology, and biotechnology.

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Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre for Biological and Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon Lisbon, Portugal.


The emerging transdisciplinary field of Toxicogenomics aims to study the cell response to a given toxicant at the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome levels. This approach is expected to provide earlier and more sensitive biomarkers of toxicological responses and help in the delineation of regulatory risk assessment. The use of model organisms to gather such genomic information, through the exploitation of Omics and Bioinformatics approaches and tools, together with more focused molecular and cellular biology studies are rapidly increasing our understanding and providing an integrative view on how cells interact with their environment. The use of the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the field of Toxicogenomics is discussed in this review. Despite the limitations intrinsic to the use of such a simple single cell experimental model, S. cerevisiae appears to be very useful as a first screening tool, limiting the use of animal models. Moreover, it is also one of the most interesting systems to obtain a truly global understanding of the toxicological response and resistance mechanisms, being in the frontline of systems biology research and developments. The impact of the knowledge gathered in the yeast model, through the use of Toxicogenomics approaches, is highlighted here by its use in prediction of toxicological outcomes of exposure to pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs, but also by its impact in biotechnology, namely in the development of more robust crops and in the improvement of yeast strains as cell factories.


genome-wide approaches; molecular systems biology; predictive toxicology; response to stress; toxicity mechanisms; toxicogenomics; yeast model

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