Putting genetic interactions in context through a global modular decomposition

Jeremy Bellay, Gowtham Atluri, Tina L. Sing, Kiana Toufighi, Michael Costanzo, Philippe Souza Moraes Ribeiro, Gaurav Pandey, Joshua Baller, Benjamin VanderSluis, Magali Michaut, Sangjo Han, Philip Kim, Grant W. Brown, Brenda J. Andrews, Charles Boone, Vipin Kumar, Chad L. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Genetic interactions provide a powerful perspective into gene function, but our knowledge of the specific mechanisms that give rise to these interactions is still relatively limited. The availability of a global genetic interaction map in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, covering ∼30% of all possible double mutant combinations, provides an unprecedented opportunity for an unbiased assessment of the native structure within genetic interaction networks and how it relates to gene function and modular organization. Toward this end, we developed a data mining approach to exhaustively discover all block structures within this network, which allowed for its complete modular decomposition. The resulting modular structures revealed the importance of the context of individual genetic interactions in their interpretation and revealed distinct trends among genetic interaction hubs as well as insights into the evolution of duplicate genes. Block membership also revealed a surprising degree of multifunctionality across the yeast genome and enabled a novel association of VIP1 and IPK1 with DNA replication and repair, which is supported by experimental evidence. Our modular decomposition also provided a basis for testing the between-pathway model of negative genetic interactions and within-pathway model of positive genetic interactions. While we find that most modular structures involving negative genetic interactions fit the between-pathway model, we found that current models for positive genetic interactions fail to explain 80% of the modular structures detected. We also find differences between the modular structures of essential and nonessential genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1387
Number of pages13
JournalGenome Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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