Yeast as a tool to uncover the cellular targets of drugs

Christopher Sturgeon, Danielle Kemmer, Hilary J. Anderson, Michel Roberge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the spectrum of cellular proteins targeted by experimental therapeutic agents would greatly facilitate drug development. However, identifying the targets of drugs is a daunting challenge. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a valuable model organism for human diseases and pathways because it is genetically tractable and shares many functional homolog with humans. In yeast, it is possible to increase or decrease the expression level of essentially every gene and measure changes in drug sensitivity to uncover potential targets. It is also possible to infer mechanism of action from comparing the changes in mRNA expression elicited by drug treatment with those induced by gene deletions or by other drugs. Proteins that bind drugs directly can be identified using yeast protein chips. This review of the use of yeast for discovering targets of drugs discusses the advantages and drawbacks of each approach and how combining methods may reveal targets more efficiently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug discovery
  • Drug-induced haploinsufficiency
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Optimization
  • Protein chip Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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