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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A three-hybrid system for detecting small ligand-protein receptor interactions.

Small ligand-receptor interactions underlie many fundamental processes in biology and form the basis for pharmacological intervention of human diseases in medicine. We report herein a genetic system, named the yeast three-hybrid system, for detecting ligand-receptor interactions in vivo. This system is adapted from the yeast two-hybrid system with which a third synthetic hybrid ligand is combined. The feasibility of this system was demonstrated using as the hybrid ligand a heterodimer of covalently linked dexamethasone and FK506. Yeast expressing fusion proteins of the hormone binding domain of the rat glucocorticoid receptor fused to the LexA DNA- binding domain and FKBP12 fused to a transcriptional activation domain activated reporter genes when plated on medium containing the dexamethasone-FK506 heterodimer. The reporter gene activation is completely abrogated in a competitive manner by the presence of excess FK506. Using this system, we screened a Jurkat cDNA library fused to the transcriptional activation domain in yeast expressing the hormone binding domain of rat glucocorticoid receptor-LexA DNA binding domain fusion protein in the presence of dexamethasone-FK506 heterodimer. We isolated overlapping clones of human FKBP12. These results demonstrate that the three-hybrid system can be used to discover receptors for small ligands and to screen for new ligands to known receptors.[1]


  1. A three-hybrid system for detecting small ligand-protein receptor interactions. Licitra, E.J., Liu, J.O. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1996) [Pubmed]
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