Systematic screens for human disease genes have emerged in recent years, due to the wealth of information provided by genome sequences and large scale datasets. Here we review how integration of genomic data in yeast and human is helping to elucidate the genetic basis of mitochondrial diseases. The identification of nearly all yeast mitochondrial proteins and many of their functional interactions provides insight into the role of mitochondria in cellular processes. This information enables prioritization of the candidate genes underlying mitochondrial disorders. In an iterative fashion, the link between predicted human candidate genes and their disease phenotypes can be experimentally tested back in yeast.
"Indeed, not only most of the basic cellular functions are conserved from yeast to humans, but also the diseases' key players themselves are often conserved: it is indeed estimated that at least 30% of the genes associated with human diseases have functional homologs in the S. cerevisiae genome . For all these reasons, yeast has been increasingly used as a model and tool for biomedical research over the past one or two decades  . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cross-complementation studies offer the possibility to overcome limitations imposed by the inherent complexity of multicellular organisms in the study of human diseases, by taking advantage of simpler model organisms like the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This review deals with, (1) the use of S. cerevisiae as a model organism to study human diseases, (2) yeast-based screening systems for the detection of diseases modifiers, (3) Hailey-Hailey as an example of a calcium-related disease, and (4) the presentation of a yeast-based model to search for chemical modifiers of Hailey-Hailey disease. The preliminary experimental data presented and discussed here show that it is possible to use yeast as a model system for Hailey-Hailey disease and suggest that in all likelihood, yeast has the potential to reveal candidate drugs for the treatment of this disorder. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Calcium Signaling In Health and Disease.
"This forms the basis for an original immune-based therapeutic strategy to selectively target EBV-infected cells, including EBV-carrying tumor cells. The versatile genetic flexibility of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the high degree of conservation between yeast and mammalian cellular processes have made S. cerevisiae an invaluable tool for modeling human diseases (Bach et al., 2003; Bach et al., 2006; Bilsland et al., 2013; Blondel, 2012; Couplan et al., 2011; Mager and Winderickx, 2005; Perocchi et al., 2008), as well as for identifying and characterizing cellular pathways involved in these disorders and thereby new therapeutic targets (Giorgini et al., 2005; Louie et al., 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is tightly associated to certain human cancers but there is of today no specific treatment against EBV-related diseases. The EBV-encoded EBNA1 protein is essential to maintain viral episomes and for viral persistence. EBNA1 is expressed in all EBV infected cells and is highly antigenic. All infected individuals, including cancer patients, have CD8(+) T cells directed towards EBNA1 epitopes, yet the immune system fails to detect and destroy cells harboring the virus. EBV's immune evasion depends on the capacity of the Gly-Ala repeat (GAr) domain of EBNA1 to inhibit the translation of its own mRNA in cis, thereby limiting the production of EBNA1-derived antigenic peptides presented by the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I pathway. Here we establish a yeast-based assay for monitoring GAr-dependent inhibition of translation. Using this assay we identify doxorubicin (DXR) as a compound that specifically interferes with the GAr effect on translation in yeast. DXR targets the topoisomerase II/DNA complexes and thereby causes genomic damage. We show, however, that the genotoxic effect of DXR and various analogues thereof is uncoupled from the effect on GAr-mediated translation control. This is further supported by the observation that etoposide and teniposide, representing another class of topoisomerase II/DNA targeting drugs, have no effect on GAr-mediated translation control. DXR and active analogues stimulate in a GAr-dependent manner EBNA1 expression in mammalian cells and overcome GAr-dependent restriction of MHC class I antigen presentation. These results validate our approach as an effective high-throughput screening assay to identify drugs that interfere with EBV immune evasion and, thus, constitute candidates for treating EBV-related diseases, in particular EBV-associated cancers.
"Establishing a simple system for functional analysis would allow for better understanding of the pathogenicity of AGC2 variants and increase the reliability of mutation screening as a diagnostic tool. The baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been shown to be a suitable model system for the study of several human diseases (Steinmetz et al 2002; Hartwell 2004; Hughes et al 2007; Perocchi et al 2008) including the characterization of variants associated with metabolic disorders such as triose phosphate isomerase deficiency (Ralser et al 2006). The use of the yeast model has the potential to not only reveal information about the function of variants but can also provide information regarding stability and other biochemical parameters (Ralser et al 2006). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AGC2, a member of the mitochondrial carrier protein family, is as an aspartate-glutamate carrier and is important for urea synthesis and the maintenance of the malate-aspartate shuttle. Mutations in SLC25A13, the gene encoding AGC2, result in two age dependent disorders: neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD) and type II citrullinemia (CTLN2). The clinical features of CTLN2 are very similar to those of other urea cycle disorders making a clear diagnosis difficult. Analysis of the SLC25A13 gene sequence can provide a definitive diagnosis, however the predictive value of DNA sequencing requires that the disease association of variants be characterized. We utilized the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae lacking AGC1 as a model system to study the effect on the function of AGC2 variants and confirmed that this system is capable of distinguishing between AGC2 variants with normal (p.Pro632Leu) or impaired function (p.Gly437Glu, p.Gly531Asp, p.Thr546Met, p.Leu598Arg and p.Glu601Lys). Three novel AGC2 genetic variants, p.Met1? (c.2T>C), p.Pro502Leu (c.1505C>T), and p.Arg605Gln (c.1814G>A) were investigated and our analysis revealed that p.Pro502Leu and p.Arg605Gln substitutions in the AGC2 protein were without effect and these variants were fully functional. The p.Met1? mutant is capable of expressing a truncated p.Met1_Phe34del AGC2 variant, however this protein is not functional due to disruptions in a calcium binding EF hand as well as incorrect intracellular localization. Our study demonstrates that the characterization of AGC2 expressed in yeast cells is a powerful technique to investigate AGC2 variants, and this analysis should aid in establishing the disease association of novel variants.
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