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High-throughput and sensitive assay to measure yeast cell growth: a bench protocol for testing genotoxic agents


Intracellular metabolites and environmental agents continuously challenge the structural integrity of DNA. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the complete collection of open reading frame deletion mutants, in combination with powerful screening methods, allows for the comprehensive analyses of cellular responses to insult. We have developed a protocol to determine the sensitivity of growing yeast to DNA-damaging agents that is based on automatic measurements of the optical density of very small (100 μl) liquid cultures. This simple method is highly sensitive, provides quantifiable data and offers high-throughput screening capability. Starting with the treatment of cells with different doses of damaging agents, pre-prepared growing media containing 96-well plates are inoculated and cell population is automatically monitored every 10 min for 48 hours. With the aid of a multi-channel pipette, the sensitivity of a number of yeast strains to several concentrations of drug can be tested in triplicate in less then 4 hours.

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Figure 1: Exposure of wild-type, rad1Δ, rad7Δ, rad16Δ and rad26Δ cells to UV irradiation.
Figure 2: Calculation of growth parameters.
Figure 3: Schematic of the algorithm for automatic calculation of the doubling time and the lag time.

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We thank Dr. K. Kobryn for critical reading of the manuscript and the Centre Génomique Fonctionelle de Sherbrooke for helpful discussions. The software was developed by J. Gervais-Bird (Génome Québec and Genome Canada). M. Toussaint is a recipient of a NSERC fellowship and this work was supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to A.C.

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Correspondence to Antonio Conconi.

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Toussaint, M., Conconi, A. High-throughput and sensitive assay to measure yeast cell growth: a bench protocol for testing genotoxic agents. Nat Protoc 1, 1922–1928 (2006).

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