A simplified and easy-to-use HIP HOP assay provides insights into chalcone antifungal mechanisms of action.
Elucidating the mechanism of action of an antifungal or cytotoxic compound is a time-consuming process. Yeast chemogenomic profiling provides a compelling solution to the problem but is experimentally complex. Here, we demonstrate the use of a highly simplified yeast chemical genetic assay comprising just 89 yeast deletion strains, each diagnostic for a specific mechanism of action. We use the assay to investigate the mechanism of action of two antifungal chalcone compounds, trans-chalcone and 4′-hydroxychalcone, and narrow down the mechanism to transcriptional stress. Crucially, the assay eliminates mechanisms of action such as topoisomerase I inhibition and membrane disruption that have been suggested for related chalcone compounds. We propose this simplified assay as a useful tool to rapidly identify common off-target mechanisms.