ACS Chem Biol
A long-standing challenge in drug development is the identification of the mechanisms of action of small molecules with therapeutic potential. A number of methods have been developed to address this challenge, each with inherent strengths and limitations. We here provide a brief review of these methods with a focus on chemical-genetic methods that are based on systematically profiling the effects of genetic perturbations on drug sensitivity. In particular, application of these methods to mammalian systems has been facilitated by the recent advent of CRISPR-based approaches, which enable one to readily repress, induce, or delete a given gene and determine the resulting effects on drug sensitivity.