Dittmar JC, Pierce S, Rothstein R, Reid RJD

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013 Apr 30;110(18):7389–94


Genome-wide experiments often measure quantitative differences between treated and untreated cells to identify affected strains. For these studies, statistical models are typically used to determine significance cutoffs. We developed a method termed “CLIK” (Cutoff Linked to Interaction Knowledge) that overlays biological knowledge from the interactome on screen results to derive a cutoff. The method takes advantage of the fact that groups of functionally related interacting genes often respond similarly to experimental conditions and, thus, cluster in a ranked list of screen results. We applied CLIK analysis to five screens of the yeast gene disruption library and found that it defined a significance cutoff that differed from traditional statistics. Importantly, verification experiments revealed that the CLIK cutoff correlated with the position in the rank order where the rate of true positives drops off significantly. In addition, the gene sets defined by CLIK analysis often provide further biological perspectives. For example, applying CLIK analysis retrospectively to a screen for cisplatin sensitivity allowed us to identify the importance of the Hrq1 helicase in DNA crosslink repair. Furthermore, we demonstrate the utility of CLIK to determine optimal treatment conditions by analyzing genome-wide screens at multiple rapamycin concentrations. We show that CLIK is an extremely useful tool for evaluating screen quality, determining screen cutoffs, and comparing results between screens. Furthermore, because CLIK uses previously annotated interaction data to determine biologically informed cutoffs, it provides additional insights into screen results, which supplement traditional statistical approaches.