PerspectiveCell Biology

Chemical Genetics Hits "Reality"

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Science  01 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5693, pp. 67-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104611

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Forward chemical genetic screening is analogous to the classical genetics strategy of mutagenesis, except that a small molecule takes the place of a genetic mutation in altering the function of one or more gene products. In their Perspective, Bellows and Tyers discuss an elegant forward chemical genetic screen that identifies small-molecule inhibitors called ubistatins that disrupt the cell's protein degradation machinery ( Verma et al.). This work is an excellent example of the systematic identification of small-molecule inhibitors of complex biological processes and the characterization of their molecular targets.