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Interaction Networks in Yeast Define and Enumerate the Signaling Steps of the Vertebrate Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor

  • Guang Yao
  • Mark Craven
  • Norman Drinkwater
  • Christopher A Bradfield
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2004
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a vertebrate protein that mediates the toxic and adaptive responses to dioxins and related environmental pollutants. In an effort to better understand the details of this signal transduction pathway, we employed the yeast S. cerevisiae as a model system. Through the use of arrayed yeast strains harboring ordered deletions of open reading frames, we determined that 54 out of the 4,507 yeast genes examined significantly influence AHR signal transduction. In an effort to describe the relationship between these modifying genes, we constructed a network map based upon their known protein and genetic interactions. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrated that this network represented a description of AHR signaling that was distinct from those generated by random chance. The network map was then explored with a number of computational and experimental annotations. These analyses revealed that the AHR signaling pathway is defined by at least five distinct signaling steps that are regulated by functional modules of interacting modifiers. These modules can be described as mediating receptor folding, nuclear translocation, transcriptional activation, receptor level, and a previously undescribed nuclear step related to the receptor's Per–Arnt–Sim domain.

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