The Francis Crick Institute
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Changes of cell biochemical states are revealed in protein homomeric complex dynamics

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-09-14, 10:23 authored by Bram Stynen, Diala Abd-Rabbo, Jacqueline Kowarzyk, Leonor Miller-Fleming, Simran Kaur Aulakh, Philippe Garneau, Markus Ralser, Stephen W Michnick
We report here a simple and global strategy to map out gene functions and target pathways of drugs, toxins, or other small molecules based on "homomer dynamics" protein-fragment complementation assays (hdPCA). hdPCA measures changes in self-association (homomerization) of over 3,500 yeast proteins in yeast grown under different conditions. hdPCA complements genetic interaction measurements while eliminating the confounding effects of gene ablation. We demonstrate that hdPCA accurately predicts the effects of two longevity and health span-affecting drugs, the immunosuppressant rapamycin and the type 2 diabetes drug metformin, on cellular pathways. We also discovered an unsuspected global cellular response to metformin that resembles iron deficiency and includes a change in protein-bound iron levels. This discovery opens a new avenue to investigate molecular mechanisms for the prevention or treatment of diabetes, cancers, and other chronic diseases of aging.