Synthetic Lethality between Gene Defects Affecting a Single Non-essential Molecular Pathway with Reversible Steps

Andrei Zinovyev, Inna Kuperstein, Emmanuel Barillot, Wolf Dietrich Heyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Systematic analysis of synthetic lethality (SL) constitutes a critical tool for systems biology to decipher molecular pathways. The most accepted mechanistic explanation of SL is that the two genes function in parallel, mutually compensatory pathways, known as between-pathway SL. However, recent genome-wide analyses in yeast identified a significant number of within-pathway negative genetic interactions. The molecular mechanisms leading to within-pathway SL are not fully understood. Here, we propose a novel mechanism leading to within-pathway SL involving two genes functioning in a single non-essential pathway. This type of SL termed within-reversible-pathway SL involves reversible pathway steps, catalyzed by different enzymes in the forward and backward directions, and kinetic trapping of a potentially toxic intermediate. Experimental data with recombinational DNA repair genes validate the concept. Mathematical modeling recapitulates the possibility of kinetic trapping and revealed the potential contributions of synthetic, dosage-lethal interactions in such a genetic system as well as the possibility of within-pathway positive masking interactions. Analysis of yeast gene interaction and pathway data suggests broad applicability of this novel concept. These observations extend the canonical interpretation of synthetic-lethal or synthetic-sick interactions with direct implications to reconstruct molecular pathways and improve therapeutic approaches to diseases such as cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1003016
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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