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 Sarah Jenna

Talk Title :
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Searching for Signaling Balance through the Identification of Genetic Interactors of the Rab Guanine-nucleotide Dissociation Inhibitor gdi-1

Date / Time / Location:
Thursday April 8th, 2010 – 6:00 pm
Room S1-151 at IRIC

Affiliation :
UQAM

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Sarah Jenna

Abstract :
Background
The symptoms of numerous diseases result from genetic mutations that disrupt the homeostasis maintained by the appropriate integration of signaling gene activities. The relationships between signaling genes suggest avenues through which homeostasis can be restored and disease symptoms subsequently reduced. Specifically, disease symptoms caused by loss-of-function mutations in a particular gene may be reduced by concomitant perturbations in genes with antagonistic activities.

Methodology/Principle Findings
Here we use network-neighborhood analyses to predict genetic interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans towards mapping antagonisms and synergisms between genes in an animal model. Most of the predicted interactions are novel, and the experimental validation establishes that our approach provides a gain in accuracy compared to previous efforts. In particular, we identified genetic interactors of gdi-1, the orthologue of GDI1, a gene associated with mental retardation in human. Interestingly, some gdi-1 interactors have human orthologues with known neurological functions, and upon validation of the interactions in mammalian systems, these orthologues would be potential therapeutic targets for GDI1-associated neurological disorders. We also observed the conservation of a gdi-1 interaction between different cellular systems in C. elegans, suggesting the involvement of GDI1 in human muscle degeneration.

Conclusions/Significance
We developed a novel predictor of genetic interactions that may have the ability to significantly streamline the identification of therapeutic targets for monogenic disorders involving genes conserved between human and C. elegans.