Anal Biochem 2004 Apr;327(1):23-34
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.
Cell-based assays are widely used in high-throughput screening to determine the effects of toxicants and drugs on their biological targets. To enable a functional genomics modeling of gene-environment interactions, quantitative assays are required both for gene expression and for the phenotypic responses to environmental challenge. To address this need, we describe an automated high-throughput methodology that provides phenotypic profiling of the cellular responses to environmental stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Standardized assay conditions enable the use of a single metric value to quantify yeast microculture growth curves. This assay format allows precise control of both genetic and environmental determinants of the cellular responses to oxidative stress, a common mechanism of environmental insult. These yeast-cell-based assays are validated with hydrogen peroxide, a simple direct-acting oxidant. Phenotypic profiling of the oxidative stress response of a yap1 mutant strain demonstrates the mechanistic analysis of genetic susceptibility to oxidative stress. As a proof of concept for analysis of more complex gene-environment interactions, we describe a combinatorial assay design for phenotypic profiling of the cellular responses to tert-butyl hydroperoxide, a complex oxidant that is actively metabolized by its target cells. Thus, the yeast microculture assay format supports comprehensive applications in toxicogenomics.