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Open Access Research article

A protein network-guided screen for cell cycle regulators in Drosophila

Stephen T Guest1, Jingkai Yu2, Dongmei Liu1, Julie A Hines1, Maria A Kashat1 and Russell L Finley13*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, 48201, USA

2 National Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China

3 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA, 48201 and Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, Michigan, 48201, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5:65  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-65

Published: 6 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Large-scale RNAi-based screens are playing a critical role in defining sets of genes that regulate specific cellular processes. Numerous screens have been completed and in some cases more than one screen has examined the same cellular process, enabling a direct comparison of the genes identified in separate screens. Surprisingly, the overlap observed between the results of similar screens is low, suggesting that RNAi screens have relatively high levels of false positives, false negatives, or both.

Results

We re-examined genes that were identified in two previous RNAi-based cell cycle screens to identify potential false positives and false negatives. We were able to confirm many of the originally observed phenotypes and to reveal many likely false positives. To identify potential false negatives from the previous screens, we used protein interaction networks to select genes for re-screening. We demonstrate cell cycle phenotypes for a significant number of these genes and show that the protein interaction network is an efficient predictor of new cell cycle regulators. Combining our results with the results of the previous screens identified a group of validated, high-confidence cell cycle/cell survival regulators. Examination of the subset of genes from this group that regulate the G1/S cell cycle transition revealed the presence of multiple members of three structurally related protein complexes: the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 (eIF3) complex, the COP9 signalosome, and the proteasome lid. Using a combinatorial RNAi approach, we show that while all three of these complexes are required for Cdk2/Cyclin E activity, the eIF3 complex is specifically required for some other step that limits the G1/S cell cycle transition.

Conclusions

Our results show that false positives and false negatives each play a significant role in the lack of overlap that is observed between similar large-scale RNAi-based screens. Our results also show that protein network data can be used to minimize false negatives and false positives and to more efficiently identify comprehensive sets of regulators for a process. Finally, our data provides a high confidence set of genes that are likely to play key roles in regulating the cell cycle or cell survival.