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Arrayed adenoviral expression libraries for functional screening

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 February 2003


With the publication of the sequence of the human genome, we are challenged to identify the functions of an estimated 70,000 human genes1,2 and the much larger number of proteins encoded by these genes. Of particular interest is the identification of gene products that play a role in human disease pathways, as these proteins include potential new targets that may lead to improved therapeutic strategies. This requires the direct measurement of gene function on a genomic scale in cell-based, functional assays. We have constructed and validated an individually arrayed, replication-defective adenoviral library harboring human cDNAs, termed PhenoSelect library. The adenoviral vector guarantees efficient transduction of diverse cell types, including primary cells. The arrayed format allows screening of this library in a variety of cellular assays in search for gene(s) that, by overexpression, induce a particular disease-related phenotype. The great majority of phenotypic assays, including morphological assays, can be screened with arrayed libraries. In contrast, pooled-library approaches often rely on phenotype-based isolation or selection of single cells by employing a flow cytometer or screening for cell survival. An arrayed placental PhenoSelect library was screened in cellular assays aimed at identifying regulators of osteogenesis, metastasis, and angiogenesis. This resulted in the identification of known regulators, as well as novel sequences that encode proteins hitherto not known to play a role in these pathways. These results establish the value of the PhenoSelect platform, in combination with cellular screens, for gene function discovery.

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Figure 1: Induction of osteoblast formation.
Figure 2: Loss of epithelial phenotype.
Figure 3: Capillary formation assay.

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We acknowledge the gift of mesenchymal stem cells by IsoTis (Bilthoven, The Netherlands). We thank John Collard for providing the MDCK cells. This work was supported in part by an IWT grant from the Flemish government.

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Correspondence to Helmuth van Es.

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All authors are employed by Galapagos Genetics, and the research described in this article was funded by Galapagos Genetics.

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Michiels, F., van Es, H., van Rompaey, L. et al. Arrayed adenoviral expression libraries for functional screening. Nat Biotechnol 20, 1154–1157 (2002).

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