Parallel reverse genetic screening in mutant human cells using transcriptomics

Mol Syst Biol. 2016 Aug 1;12(8):879. doi: 10.15252/msb.20166890.


Reverse genetic screens have driven gene annotation and target discovery in model organisms. However, many disease-relevant genotypes and phenotypes cannot be studied in lower organisms. It is therefore essential to overcome technical hurdles associated with large-scale reverse genetics in human cells. Here, we establish a reverse genetic approach based on highly robust and sensitive multiplexed RNA sequencing of mutant human cells. We conduct 10 parallel screens using a collection of engineered haploid isogenic cell lines with knockouts covering tyrosine kinases and identify known and unexpected effects on signaling pathways. Our study provides proof of concept for a scalable approach to link genotype to phenotype in human cells, which has broad applications. In particular, it clears the way for systematic phenotyping of still poorly characterized human genes and for systematic study of uncharacterized genomic features associated with human disease.

Keywords: kinases; multiplexed RNA sequencing; parallel screening; reverse genetics; systematic phenotyping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Phenotype
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Reverse Genetics / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*


  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases