Validating rnai targets
(Source: Hong Xiao, Bristol-Myers Squibb) Wardwell-Swanson's group spent the first few months developing and validating assays, and also modifying their existing assays to fit the new fluorescent format.
The screens are constantly growing in size, and in the next few years, Wardwell-Swanson anticipates genome-wide screens of tens of thousands of genes, which may require higher throughput, second-generation instruments.
Combined identification and validation of targets is a major benefit of HCS.
"The more validation we can get during the identification process, the better off we are," says Wardwell-Swanson.
The targets they screen include G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), kinases, other signal transduction factors and transcription factors.
Most assays lent themselves nicely to the new method, she says.The assay is designed to identify novel proteins that have regulatory effects on a cell growth pathway and that might make good oncology targets.