Systematic epistatic mapping of cellular processes

Maximilian Billmann, Michael Boutros

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Genetic screens have identified many novel components of various biological processes, such as components required for cell cycle and cell division. While forward genetic screens typically generate unstructured 'hit' lists, genetic interaction mapping approaches can identify functional relations in a systematic fashion. Here, we discuss a recent study by our group demonstrating a two-step approach to first screen for regulators of the mitotic cell cycle, and subsequently guide hypothesis generation by using genetic interaction analysis. The screen used a high-content microscopy assay and automated image analysis to capture defects during mitotic progression and cytokinesis. Genetic interaction networks derived from process-specific features generate a snapshot of functional gene relations in those processes, which follow a temporal order during the cell cycle. This complements a recently published approach, which inferred directional genetic interactions reconstructing hierarchical relationships between genes across different phases during mitotic progression. In conclusion, this strategy leverages unbiased, genome-wide, yet highly sensitive and process-focused functional screening in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalCell Division
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work in the laboratory of M.B. is supported in part by an ERC Advanced Grant of the European Commission.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • Cell cycle
  • Genetic interactions
  • Image analysis
  • RNAi


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