Article

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

INSERM, U900, Paris, France
PLoS Computational Biology (Impact Factor: 4.83). 04/2013; 9(4):e1003016. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003016
Source: PubMed

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.

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