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Letter
Nature Genetics  37, 1147 - 1152 (2005)
Published online: 11 September 2005; | doi:10.1038/ng1640

The synthetic genetic interaction spectrum of essential genes

Armaity P Davierwala1, Jennifer Haynes2, Zhijian Li1, 2, Renée L Brost1, Mark D Robinson1, Lisa Yu3, Sanie Mnaimneh1, Huiming Ding1, Hongwei Zhu1, Yiqun Chen1, Xin Cheng1, Grant W Brown3, Charles Boone1, 2, 4, Brenda J Andrews1, 2, 4 & Timothy R Hughes1, 2, 4

1  Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, 112 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L6, Canada.

2  Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, University of Toronto, 1 Kings College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Canada.

3  Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, 1 Kings College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Canada.

4  These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence should be addressed to Timothy R Hughes t.hughes@utoronto.ca

The nature of synthetic genetic interactions involving essential genes (those required for viability) has not been previously examined in a broad and unbiased manner. We crossed yeast strains carrying promoter-replacement alleles for more than half of all essential yeast genes1 to a panel of 30 different mutants with defects in diverse cellular processes. The resulting genetic network is biased toward interactions between functionally related genes, enabling identification of a previously uncharacterized essential gene (PGA1) required for specific functions of the endoplasmic reticulum. But there are also many interactions between genes with dissimilar functions, suggesting that individual essential genes are required for buffering many cellular processes. The most notable feature of the essential synthetic genetic network is that it has an interaction density five times that of nonessential synthetic genetic networks2, 3, indicating that most yeast genetic interactions involve at least one essential gene.


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Nature Genetics
ISSN: 1061-4036
EISSN: 1546-1718
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