SLCO1B1: Application and limitations of deep mutational scanning for genomic missense variant function

Lingxin Zhang, Vivekananda Sarangi, Ming Fen Ho, Irene Moon, Krishna R. Kalari, Liewei Wang, Richard M. Weinshilboum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SLCO1B1 (solute carrier organic anion transporter family member 1B1) is an important transmembrane hepatic uptake transporter. Genetic variants in the SLCO1B1 gene have been associated with altered protein folding, resulting in protein degradation and decreased transporter activity. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of pharmacogenes is being applied increasingly to associate variation in drug response with genetic sequence variants. However, it is difficult to link variants of unknown significance with functional phenotypes using “one-at-a-time” functional systems. Deep mutational scanning (DMS) using a “landing pad cell–based system” is a high-throughput technique designed to analyze hundreds of gene open reading frame (ORF) missense variants in a parallel and scalable fashion. We have applied DMS to analyze 137 missense variants in the SLCO1B1 ORF obtained from the Exome Aggregation Consortium project. ORFs containing these variants were fused to green fluorescent protein and were integrated into “landing pad” cells. Florescence-activated cell sorting was performed to separate the cells into four groups based on fluorescence readout indicating protein expression at the single cell level. NGS was then performed and SLCO1B1 variant frequencies were used to determine protein abundance. We found that six variants not previously characterized functionally displayed less than 25% and another 12 displayed approximately 50% of wild-type protein expression. These results were then functionally validated by transporter studies. Severely damaging variants identified by DMS may have clinical relevance for SLCO1B1-dependent drug transport, but we need to exercise caution since the relatively small number of severely damaging variants identified raise questions with regard to the application of DMS to intrinsic membrane proteins such as organic anion transporter protein 1B1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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