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1.  Estrogen Receptor Expression Is High But Is of Lower Intensity in Tubular Carcinoma Than in Well-Differentiated Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 
Tubular carcinoma (TC) is a rare, luminal A subtype of breast carcinoma with excellent prognosis, for which adjuvant chemotherapy is usually contraindicated.
To examine the levels of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor expression in cases of TC and well-differentiated invasive ductal carcinoma as compared to normal breast glands and to determine if any significant differences could be detected via molecular testing.
We examined ER and progesterone receptor via immunohistochemistry in tubular (N = 27), mixed ductal/tubular (N = 16), and well-differentiated ductal (N = 27) carcinomas with comparison to surrounding normal breast tissue. We additionally performed molecular subtyping of 10 TCs and 10 ductal carcinomas via the PAM50 assay.
Although ER expression was high for all groups, TC had statistically significantly lower ER staining percentage (ER%) (P = .003) and difference in ER expression between tumor and accompanying normal tissue (P = .02) than well-differentiated ductal carcinomas, with mixed ductal/tubular carcinomas falling between these 2 groups. Mean ER% was 79%, 87%, and 94%, and mean tumor-normal ER% differences were 13.6%, 25.9%, and 32.6% in tubular, mixed, and ductal carcinomas, respectively. Most tumors that had molecular subtyping were luminal A (9 of 10 tubular and 8 of 10 ductal), and no significant differences in specific gene expression between the 2 groups were identified.
Tubular carcinoma exhibited decreased intensity in ER expression, closer to that of normal breast parenchyma, likely as a consequence of a high degree of differentiation. Lower ER% expression by TC may represent a potential pitfall when performing commercially available breast carcinoma prognostic assays that rely heavily on ER-related gene expression.
PMCID: PMC4327939  PMID: 25357113
2.  The Common Marmoset Genome Provides Insight into Primate Biology and Evolution 
Worley, Kim C. | Warren, Wesley C. | Rogers, Jeffrey | Locke, Devin | Muzny, Donna M. | Mardis, Elaine R. | Weinstock, George M. | Tardif, Suzette D. | Aagaard, Kjersti M. | Archidiacono, Nicoletta | Rayan, Nirmala Arul | Batzer, Mark A. | Beal, Kathryn | Brejova, Brona | Capozzi, Oronzo | Capuano, Saverio B. | Casola, Claudio | Chandrabose, Mimi M. | Cree, Andrew | Dao, Marvin Diep | de Jong, Pieter J. | del Rosario, Ricardo Cruz-Herrera | Delehaunty, Kim D. | Dinh, Huyen H. | Eichler, Evan | Fitzgerald, Stephen | Flicek, Paul | Fontenot, Catherine C. | Fowler, R. Gerald | Fronick, Catrina | Fulton, Lucinda A. | Fulton, Robert S. | Gabisi, Ramatu Ayiesha | Gerlach, Daniel | Graves, Tina A. | Gunaratne, Preethi H. | Hahn, Matthew W. | Haig, David | Han, Yi | Harris, R. Alan | Herrero, Javier M. | Hillier, LaDeana W. | Hubley, Robert | Hughes, Jennifer F. | Hume, Jennifer | Jhangiani, Shalini N. | Jorde, Lynn B. | Joshi, Vandita | Karakor, Emre | Konkel, Miriam K. | Kosiol, Carolin | Kovar, Christie L. | Kriventseva, Evgenia V. | Lee, Sandra L. | Lewis, Lora R. | Liu, Yih-shin | Lopez, John | Lopez-Otin, Carlos | Lorente-Galdos, Belen | Mansfield, Keith G. | Marques-Bonet, Tomas | Minx, Patrick | Misceo, Doriana | Moncrieff, J. Scott | Morgan, Margaret B. | Muthuswamy, Raveendran | Nazareth, Lynne V. | Newsham, Irene | Nguyen, Ngoc Bich | Okwuonu, Geoffrey O. | Prabhakar, Shyam | Perales, Lora | Pu, Ling-Ling | Puente, Xose S. | Quesada, Victor | Ranck, Megan C. | Raney, Brian J. | Deiros, David Rio | Rocchi, Mariano | Rodriguez, David | Ross, Corinna | Ruffier, Magali | Ruiz, San Juana | Sajjadian, S. | Santibanez, Jireh | Schrider, Daniel R. | Searle, Steve | Skaletsky, Helen | Soibam, Benjamin | Smit, Arian F. A. | Tennakoon, Jayantha B. | Tomaska, Lubomir | Ullmer, Brygg | Vejnar, Charles E. | Ventura, Mario | Vilella, Albert J. | Vinar, Tomas | Vogel, Jan-Hinnerk | Walker, Jerilyn A. | Wang, Qing | Warner, Crystal M. | Wildman, Derek E. | Witherspoon, David J. | Wright, Rita A. | Wu, Yuanqing | Xiao, Weimin | Xing, Jinchuan | Zdobnov, Evgeny M. | Zhu, Baoli | Gibbs, Richard A. | Wilson, Richard K.
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):850-857.
A first analysis of the genome sequence of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), assembled using traditional Sanger methods and Ensembl annotation, has permitted genomic comparison with apes and that old world monkeys and the identification of specific molecular features a rapid reproductive capacity partly due to may contribute to the unique biology of diminutive The common marmoset has prevalence of this dizygotic primate. twins. Remarkably, these twins share placental circulation and exchange hematopoietic stem cells in utero, resulting in adults that are hematopoietic chimeras.
We observed positive selection or non-synonymous substitutions for genes encoding growth hormone / insulin-like growth factor (growth pathways), respiratory complex I (metabolic pathways), immunobiology, and proteases (reproductive and immunity pathways). In addition, both protein-coding and microRNA genes related to reproduction exhibit rapid sequence evolution. This New World monkey genome sequence enables significantly increased power for comparative analyses among available primate genomes and facilitates biomedical research application.
PMCID: PMC4138798  PMID: 25038751
3.  Targeting Oxidative Stress in Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma 
Cancer cell  2013;24(6):710-724.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft-tissue sarcoma with molecular and cellular features of developing skeletal muscle. Rhabdomyosarcoma has two major histological subtypes, embryonal and alveolar, each with distinct clinical, molecular, and genetic features. Genomic analysis show that embryonal tumors have more structural and copy number variations than alveolar tumors. Mutations in the RAS/NF1 pathway are significantly associated with intermediate- and high-risk embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas (ERMS). In contrast, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) have fewer genetic lesions overall and no known recurrently mutated cancer consensus genes. To identify therapeutics for ERMS, we developed and characterized orthotopic xenografts of tumors that were sequenced in our study. High throughput screening of primary cultures derived from those xenografts identified oxidative stress as a pathway of therapeutic relevance for ERMS.
PMCID: PMC3904731  PMID: 24332040
4.  The genomic landscape of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and pediatric non-brainstem high-grade glioma 
Nature genetics  2014;46(5):444-450.
Pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG) is a devastating disease with a two-year survival of less than 20%1. We analyzed 127 pediatric HGGs, including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) and non-brainstem HGGs (NBS-HGGs) by whole genome, whole exome, and/or transcriptome sequencing. We identified recurrent somatic mutations in ACVR1 exclusively in DIPG (32%), in addition to the previously reported frequent somatic mutations in histone H3, TP53 and ATRX in both DIPG and NBS-HGGs2-5. Structural variants generating fusion genes were found in 47% of DIPGs and NBS-HGGs, with recurrent fusions involving the neurotrophin receptor genes NTRK1, 2, or 3 in 40% of NBS-HGGs in infants. Mutations targeting receptor tyrosine kinase/RAS/PI3K signaling, histone modification or chromatin remodeling, and cell cycle regulation were found in 68%, 73% and 59%, respectively, of pediatric HGGs, including DIPGs and NBS-HGGs. This comprehensive analysis provides insights into the unique and shared pathways driving pediatric HGG within and outside the brainstem.
PMCID: PMC4056452  PMID: 24705251
5.  Genomics of Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.)  2011;17(6):487-491.
The acute myeloid leukemia (AML) genome has been the subject of intensive research over the past four decades. New technologies, enabling characterization of the AML genome at increased resolution, have revealed deeper layers of complexity that have provided insights into the biological basis of this disease, nominated targets for therapy, and identified biomarkers predictive of response to therapy or long-term prognosis. Still, our understanding of AML genomics is incomplete. Recent publications have demonstrated that whole genome sequencing (WGS) of primary AML samples is feasible and can detect novel, clinically relevant mutations. New insights are emerging from this work, including the clonal heterogeneity of this disease and clonal evolution that occurs over time. Some of the novel mutations are highly recurrent (>20% of patients), but there appears to be a continuum of mutation frequency down to rare (<5%) or even singleton mutations that may be relevant for the biology of this disease. Large cohorts of well-annotated samples are needed to establish mutation frequencies, implicate biological pathways, and demonstrate genotype:phenotype correlations. Although many technical and logistical challenges must be overcome, the capacity of WGS to detect all classes of inherited and acquired genetic abnormalities makes it an attractive candidate for development as a clinical diagnostic test.
PMCID: PMC3240851  PMID: 22157292
acute myeloid leukemia; genomics; next generation sequencing
6.  C11orf95-RELA fusions drive oncogenic NF-κB signaling in ependymoma 
Nature  2014;506(7489):451-455.
The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) family of transcriptional regulators are central mediators of the cellular inflammatory response. Although constitutive NF-κB signaling is present in most human tumours, mutations in pathway members are rare, complicating efforts to understand and block aberrant NF-κB activity in cancer. Here, we show that more than two thirds of supratentorial ependymomas contain oncogenic fusions between RELA, the principal effector of canonical NF-κB signalling, and an uncharacterized gene, C11orf95. In each case, C11orf95-RELA fusions resulted from chromothripsis involving chromosome 11q13.1. C11orf95-RELA fusion proteins translocated spontaneously to the nucleus to activate NF-κB target genes, and rapidly transformed neural stem cells—the cell of origin of ependymoma—to form these tumours in mice. Our data identify the first highly recurrent genetic alteration of RELA in human cancer, and the C11orf95-RELA fusion protein as a potential therapeutic target in supratentorial ependymoma.
PMCID: PMC4050669  PMID: 24553141
7.  SciClone: Inferring Clonal Architecture and Tracking the Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Tumor Evolution 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(8):e1003665.
The sensitivity of massively-parallel sequencing has confirmed that most cancers are oligoclonal, with subpopulations of neoplastic cells harboring distinct mutations. A fine resolution view of this clonal architecture provides insight into tumor heterogeneity, evolution, and treatment response, all of which may have clinical implications. Single tumor analysis already contributes to understanding these phenomena. However, cryptic subclones are frequently revealed by additional patient samples (e.g., collected at relapse or following treatment), indicating that accurately characterizing a tumor requires analyzing multiple samples from the same patient. To address this need, we present SciClone, a computational method that identifies the number and genetic composition of subclones by analyzing the variant allele frequencies of somatic mutations. We use it to detect subclones in acute myeloid leukemia and breast cancer samples that, though present at disease onset, are not evident from a single primary tumor sample. By doing so, we can track tumor evolution and identify the spatial origins of cells resisting therapy.
Author Summary
Sequencing the genomic DNA of cancers has revealed that tumors are not homogeneous. As a tumor grows, new mutations accumulate in individual cells, and as these cells replicate, the mutations are passed on to their offspring, which comprise only a portion of the tumor when it is sampled. We present a method for identifying the fraction of cells containing specific mutations, clustering them into subclonal populations, and tracking the changes in these subclones. This allows us to follow the clonal evolution of cancers as they respond to chemotherapy or develop therapy resistance, processes which may radically alter the subclonal composition of a tumor. It also gives us insight into the spatial organization of tumors, and we show that multiple biopsies from a single breast cancer may harbor different subclones that respond differently to treatment. Finally, we show that sequencing multiple samples from a patient's tumor is often critical, as it reveals cryptic subclones that cannot be discerned from only one sample. This is the first tool that can efficiently leverage multiple samples to identify these as distinct subpopulations of cells, thus contributing to understanding the biology of the tumor and influencing clinical decisions about therapy.
PMCID: PMC4125065  PMID: 25102416
8.  The landscape of somatic mutations in epigenetic regulators across 1000 pediatric cancer genomes 
Nature communications  2014;5:3630.
Here we sequence 633 genes, encoding the majority of known epigenetic regulatory proteins, in over 1000 pediatric tumors to define the landscape of somatic mutations in epigenetic regulators in pediatric cancer. Our results demonstrate a marked variation in the frequency of gene mutations across 21 different pediatric cancer subtypes, with the highest frequency of mutations detected in high-grade gliomas, T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia, medulloblastoma, and a paucity of mutations in low-grade glioma, and retinoblastoma. The most frequently mutated genes are H3F3A, PHF6, ATRX, KDM6A, SMARCA4, ASXL2, CREBBP, EZH2, MLL2, USP7, ASXL1, NSD2, SETD2, SMC1A, and ZMYM3. Importantly, we identify novel loss-of-function mutations in the ubiquitin-specific-processing protease 7 (USP7) in pediatric leukemia, which result in a decrease in deubiquitination activity. Collectively, our results help to define the landscape of mutations in epigenetic regulatory genes in pediatric cancer and yield a valuable new database for investigating the role of epigenetic dysregulations in cancer.
PMCID: PMC4119022  PMID: 24710217
9.  Integrated Analysis of Germline and Somatic Variants in Ovarian Cancer 
Nature communications  2014;5:3156.
We report the first large-scale exome-wide analysis of the combined germline-somatic landscape in ovarian cancer. Here we analyze germline and somatic alterations in 429 ovarian carcinoma cases and 557 controls. We identify 3,635 high confidence, rare truncation and 22,953 missense variants with predicted functional impact. We find germline truncation variants and large deletions across Fanconi pathway genes in 20% of cases. Enrichment of rare truncations is shown in BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. Additionally, we observe germline truncation variants in genes not previously associated with ovarian cancer susceptibility (NF1, MAP3K4, CDKN2B, and MLL3). Evidence for loss of heterozygosity was found in 100% and 76% of cases with germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 truncations respectively. Germline-somatic interaction analysis combined with extensive bioinformatics annotation identifies 237 candidate functional germline truncation and missense variants, including 2 pathogenic BRCA1 and 1 TP53 deleterious variants. Finally, integrated analyses of germline and somatic variants identify significantly altered pathways, including the Fanconi, MAPK, and MLL pathways.
PMCID: PMC4025965  PMID: 24448499
10.  Recurrent Somatic Structural Variations Contribute to Tumorigenesis in Pediatric Osteosarcoma 
Cell reports  2014;7(1):104-112.
Osteosarcoma is a neoplasm of mesenchymal origin with features of osteogenic differentiation. Patients with recurrent or metastatic disease have a very poor prognosis. To define the landscape of somatic mutations in pediatric osteosarcoma, we performed whole-genome sequencing of DNA from 20 osteosarcoma tumor samples and matched normal tissue (obtained from 19 patients) in the discovery cohort as well as 14 samples from 13 patients in the validation cohort. Our results demonstrate that pediatric osteosarcoma is characterized by multiple somatic chromosomal lesions, including structural variations (SVs) and copy number alterations (CNAs). Moreover, single nucleotide variations (SNVs) exhibit a pattern of localized hypermutation called “kataegis” in 50% of the tumors. Despite these regions of kataegis across the osteosarcoma genomes, we detected relatively few recurrent SNVs, and only when SVs were included did we identify the major pathways that are mutated in osteosarcoma. We identified p53 pathway lesions in all 19 patient’s tumors in the discovery cohort, 9 of which were translocations in the first intron of the TP53 gene, leading to gene inactivation. This mechanism of p53 gene inactivation is unique to osteosarcoma among pediatric cancers. In an additional cohort of 32 patients, TP53 gene alterations were identified in 29 of those tumors. Beyond TP53, the RB1, ATRX and DLG2 genes showed recurrent somatic alterations (SNVs and/or SVs) in 29–53% of the tumors. These data highlight the power of whole-genome sequencing in identifying recurrent somatic alterations in cancer genomes that may be missed using other methods.
PMCID: PMC4096827  PMID: 24703847
11.  Clonal Architecture of Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia Defined by Single-Cell Sequencing 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004462.
Next-generation sequencing has been used to infer the clonality of heterogeneous tumor samples. These analyses yield specific predictions—the population frequency of individual clones, their genetic composition, and their evolutionary relationships—which we set out to test by sequencing individual cells from three subjects diagnosed with secondary acute myeloid leukemia, each of whom had been previously characterized by whole genome sequencing of unfractionated tumor samples. Single-cell mutation profiling strongly supported the clonal architecture implied by the analysis of bulk material. In addition, it resolved the clonal assignment of single nucleotide variants that had been initially ambiguous and identified areas of previously unappreciated complexity. Accordingly, we find that many of the key assumptions underlying the analysis of tumor clonality by deep sequencing of unfractionated material are valid. Furthermore, we illustrate a single-cell sequencing strategy for interrogating the clonal relationships among known variants that is cost-effective, scalable, and adaptable to the analysis of both hematopoietic and solid tumors, or any heterogeneous population of cells.
Author Summary
Human cancers are genetically diverse populations of cells that evolve over the course of their natural history or in response to the selective pressure of therapy. In theory, it is possible to infer how this variation is structured into related populations of cells based on the frequency of individual mutations in bulk samples, but the accuracy of these models has not been evaluated across a large number of variants in individual cells. Here, we report a strategy for analyzing hundreds of variants within a single cell, and we apply this method to assess models of tumor clonality derived from bulk samples in three cases of leukemia. The data largely support the predicted population structure, though they suggest specific refinements. This type of approach not only illustrates the biological complexity of human cancer, but it also has the potential to inform patient management. That is, precise knowledge of which variants are present in which populations of cells may allow physicians to more effectively target combinations of mutations and predict how patients will respond to therapy.
PMCID: PMC4091781  PMID: 25010716
12.  Challenges of sequencing human genomes 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2010;11(5):484-498.
Massively parallel sequencing technologies continue to alter the study of human genetics. As the cost of sequencing declines, next-generation sequencing (NGS) instruments and datasets will become increasingly accessible to the wider research community. Investigators are understandably eager to harness the power of these new technologies. Sequencing human genomes on these platforms, however, presents numerous production and bioinformatics challenges. Production issues like sample contamination, library chimaeras and variable run quality have become increasingly problematic in the transition from technology development lab to production floor. Analysis of NGS data, too, remains challenging, particularly given the short-read lengths (35–250 bp) and sheer volume of data. The development of streamlined, highly automated pipelines for data analysis is critical for transition from technology adoption to accelerated research and publication. This review aims to describe the state of current NGS technologies, as well as the strategies that enable NGS users to characterize the full spectrum of DNA sequence variation in humans.
PMCID: PMC2980933  PMID: 20519329
massively parallel sequencing; next generation sequencing; human genome; variant detection; short read alignment; whole genome sequencing
13.  Ancestry Estimation and Control of Population Stratification for Sequence-based Association Studies 
Nature genetics  2014;46(4):409-415.
Knowledge of individual ancestry is important for genetic association studies where population structure leads to false positive signals. Estimating individual ancestry with targeted sequence data, which constitutes the bulk of current sequence datasets, is challenging. Here, we propose a new method for accurate estimation of genetic ancestry. Our method skips genotype calling and directly analyzes sequence reads. We validate the method using simulated and empirical data and show that the method can accurately infer worldwide continental ancestry with whole genome shotgun coverage as low as 0.001X. For estimates of fine-scale ancestry within Europe, the method performs well with coverage of 0.1X. At an even finer-scale, the method improves discrimination between exome-sequenced participants originating from different provinces within Finland. Finally, we show that our method can be used to improve case-control matching in genetic association studies and reduce the risk of spurious findings due to population structure.
PMCID: PMC4084909  PMID: 24633160
14.  DGIdb - Mining the druggable genome 
Nature methods  2013;10(12):10.1038/nmeth.2689.
The Drug-Gene Interaction database (DGIdb) mines existing resources that generate hypotheses about how mutated genes might be targeted therapeutically or prioritized for drug development. It provides an interface for searching lists of genes against a compendium of drug-gene interactions and potentially druggable genes. DGIdb can be accessed at
PMCID: PMC3851581  PMID: 24122041
15.  Exome Sequencing Implicates an Increased Burden of Rare Potassium Channel Variants in the Risk of Drug Induced Long QT Syndrome 
To test the hypothesis that rare variants are associated with Drug-induced long QT syndrome (diLQTS) and torsade de pointes (TdP).
diLQTS is associated with the potentially fatal arrhythmia TdP. The contribution of rare genetic variants to the underlying genetic framework predisposing diLQTS has not been systematically examined.
We performed whole exome sequencing (WES) on 65 diLQTS cases and 148 drug-exposed controls of European descent. We employed rare variant analyses (variable threshold [VT] and sequence kernel association test [SKAT]) and gene-set analyses to identify genes enriched with rare amino-acid coding (AAC) variants associated with diLQTS. Significant associations were reanalyzed by comparing diLQTS cases to 515 ethnically matched controls from the NHLBI GO Exome Sequencing Project (ESP).
Rare variants in 7 genes were enriched in the diLQTS cases according to SKAT or VT compared to drug exposed controls (p<0.001). Of these, we replicated the diLQTS associations for KCNE1 and ACN9 using 515 ESP controls (p<0.05). A total of 37% of the diLQTS cases also had ≥1 rare AAC variant, as compared to 21% of controls (p=0.009), in a predefined set of seven congenital LQTS (cLQTS) genes encoding potassium channels or channel modulators (KCNE1,KCNE2,KCNH2,KCNJ2, KCNJ5,KCNQ1,AKAP9).
By combining WES with aggregated rare variant analyses, we implicate rare variants in KCNE1 and ACN9 as risk factors for diLQTS. Moreover, diLQTS cases were more burdened by rare AAC variants in cLQTS genes encoding potassium channel modulators, supporting the idea that multiple rare variants, notably across cLQTS genes, predispose to diLQTS.
PMCID: PMC4018823  PMID: 24561134
exome; torsade des pointes; long QT syndrome; genetics, adverse drug event
16.  Identification of a Rare Coding Variant in Complement 3 Associated with Age-related Macular Degeneration 
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):10.1038/ng.2758.
Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly. To identify rare coding variants associated with a large increase in risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), we sequenced 2,335 cases and 789 controls in 10 candidate loci (57 genes). To increase power, we augmented our control set with ancestry-matched exome sequenced controls. An analysis of coding variation in 2,268 AMD cases and 2,268 ancestry matched controls revealed two large-effect rare variants; previously described R1210C in the CFH gene (fcase = 0.51%, fcontrol = 0.02%, OR = 23.11), and newly identified K155Q in the C3 gene (fcase = 1.06%, fcontrol = 0.39%, OR = 2.68). The variants suggest decreased inhibition of C3 by Factor H, resulting in increased activation of the alternative complement pathway, as a key component of disease biology.
PMCID: PMC3812337  PMID: 24036949
17.  The western painted turtle genome, a model for the evolution of extreme physiological adaptations in a slowly evolving lineage 
Genome Biology  2013;14(3):R28.
We describe the genome of the western painted turtle, Chrysemys picta bellii, one of the most widespread, abundant, and well-studied turtles. We place the genome into a comparative evolutionary context, and focus on genomic features associated with tooth loss, immune function, longevity, sex differentiation and determination, and the species' physiological capacities to withstand extreme anoxia and tissue freezing.
Our phylogenetic analyses confirm that turtles are the sister group to living archosaurs, and demonstrate an extraordinarily slow rate of sequence evolution in the painted turtle. The ability of the painted turtle to withstand complete anoxia and partial freezing appears to be associated with common vertebrate gene networks, and we identify candidate genes for future functional analyses. Tooth loss shares a common pattern of pseudogenization and degradation of tooth-specific genes with birds, although the rate of accumulation of mutations is much slower in the painted turtle. Genes associated with sex differentiation generally reflect phylogeny rather than convergence in sex determination functionality. Among gene families that demonstrate exceptional expansions or show signatures of strong natural selection, immune function and musculoskeletal patterning genes are consistently over-represented.
Our comparative genomic analyses indicate that common vertebrate regulatory networks, some of which have analogs in human diseases, are often involved in the western painted turtle's extraordinary physiological capacities. As these regulatory pathways are analyzed at the functional level, the painted turtle may offer important insights into the management of a number of human health disorders.
PMCID: PMC4054807  PMID: 23537068
Amniote phylogeny; anoxia tolerance; chelonian; freeze tolerance; genomics; longevity; phylogenomics; physiology; turtle; evolutionary rates
18.  A Course-Based Research Experience: How Benefits Change with Increased Investment in Instructional Time 
Shaffer, Christopher D. | Alvarez, Consuelo J. | Bednarski, April E. | Dunbar, David | Goodman, Anya L. | Reinke, Catherine | Rosenwald, Anne G. | Wolyniak, Michael J. | Bailey, Cheryl | Barnard, Daron | Bazinet, Christopher | Beach, Dale L. | Bedard, James E. J. | Bhalla, Satish | Braverman, John | Burg, Martin | Chandrasekaran, Vidya | Chung, Hui-Min | Clase, Kari | DeJong, Randall J. | DiAngelo, Justin R. | Du, Chunguang | Eckdahl, Todd T. | Eisler, Heather | Emerson, Julia A. | Frary, Amy | Frohlich, Donald | Gosser, Yuying | Govind, Shubha | Haberman, Adam | Hark, Amy T. | Hauser, Charles | Hoogewerf, Arlene | Hoopes, Laura L. M. | Howell, Carina E. | Johnson, Diana | Jones, Christopher J. | Kadlec, Lisa | Kaehler, Marian | Silver Key, S. Catherine | Kleinschmit, Adam | Kokan, Nighat P. | Kopp, Olga | Kuleck, Gary | Leatherman, Judith | Lopilato, Jane | MacKinnon, Christy | Martinez-Cruzado, Juan Carlos | McNeil, Gerard | Mel, Stephanie | Mistry, Hemlata | Nagengast, Alexis | Overvoorde, Paul | Paetkau, Don W. | Parrish, Susan | Peterson, Celeste N. | Preuss, Mary | Reed, Laura K. | Revie, Dennis | Robic, Srebrenka | Roecklein-Canfield, Jennifer | Rubin, Michael R. | Saville, Kenneth | Schroeder, Stephanie | Sharif, Karim | Shaw, Mary | Skuse, Gary | Smith, Christopher D. | Smith, Mary A. | Smith, Sheryl T. | Spana, Eric | Spratt, Mary | Sreenivasan, Aparna | Stamm, Joyce | Szauter, Paul | Thompson, Jeffrey S. | Wawersik, Matthew | Youngblom, James | Zhou, Leming | Mardis, Elaine R. | Buhler, Jeremy | Leung, Wilson | Lopatto, David | Elgin, Sarah C. R.
CBE Life Sciences Education  2014;13(1):111-130.
While course-based research in genomics can generate both knowledge gains and a greater appreciation for how science is done, a significant investment of course time is required to enable students to show gains commensurate to a summer research experience. Nonetheless, this is a very cost-effective way to reach larger numbers of students.
There is widespread agreement that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs should provide undergraduates with research experience. Practical issues and limited resources, however, make this a challenge. We have developed a bioinformatics project that provides a course-based research experience for students at a diverse group of schools and offers the opportunity to tailor this experience to local curriculum and institution-specific student needs. We assessed both attitude and knowledge gains, looking for insights into how students respond given this wide range of curricular and institutional variables. While different approaches all appear to result in learning gains, we find that a significant investment of course time is required to enable students to show gains commensurate to a summer research experience. An alumni survey revealed that time spent on a research project is also a significant factor in the value former students assign to the experience one or more years later. We conclude: 1) implementation of a bioinformatics project within the biology curriculum provides a mechanism for successfully engaging large numbers of students in undergraduate research; 2) benefits to students are achievable at a wide variety of academic institutions; and 3) successful implementation of course-based research experiences requires significant investment of instructional time for students to gain full benefit.
PMCID: PMC3940452  PMID: 24591510
Nature genetics  2013;45(3):242-252.
The genetic basis of hypodiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a subtype of ALL characterized by aneuploidy and poor outcome, is unknown. Genomic profiling of 124 hypodiploid ALL cases, including whole genome and exome sequencing of 40 cases, identified two subtypes that differ in severity of aneuploidy, transcriptional profile and submicroscopic genetic alterations. Near haploid cases with 24–31 chromosomes harbor alterations targeting receptor tyrosine kinase- and Ras signaling (71%) and the lymphoid transcription factor IKZF3 (AIOLOS; 13%). In contrast, low hypodiploid ALL with 32–39 chromosomes are characterized by TP53 alterations (91.2%) which are commonly present in non-tumor cells, and alterations of IKZF2 (HELIOS; 53%) and RB1 (41%). Both near haploid and low hypodiploid tumors exhibit activation of Ras- and PI3K signaling pathways, and are sensitive to PI3K inhibitors, indicating that these drugs should be explored as a new therapeutic strategy for this aggressive form of leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3919793  PMID: 23334668
20.  Integration of Sequence Data from a Consanguineous Family with Genetic Data from an Outbred Population Identifies PLB1 as a Candidate Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Gene 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87645.
Integrating genetic data from families with highly penetrant forms of disease together with genetic data from outbred populations represents a promising strategy to uncover the complete frequency spectrum of risk alleles for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we demonstrate that rare, low-frequency and common alleles at one gene locus, phospholipase B1 (PLB1), might contribute to risk of RA in a 4-generation consanguineous pedigree (Middle Eastern ancestry) and also in unrelated individuals from the general population (European ancestry). Through identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a non-synonymous c.2263G>C (p.G755R) mutation at the PLB1 gene on 2q23, which significantly co-segregated with RA in family members with a dominant mode of inheritance (P = 0.009). We further evaluated PLB1 variants and risk of RA using a GWAS meta-analysis of 8,875 RA cases and 29,367 controls of European ancestry. We identified significant contributions of two independent non-coding variants near PLB1 with risk of RA (rs116018341 [MAF = 0.042] and rs116541814 [MAF = 0.021], combined P = 3.2×10−6). Finally, we performed deep exon sequencing of PLB1 in 1,088 RA cases and 1,088 controls (European ancestry), and identified suggestive dispersion of rare protein-coding variant frequencies between cases and controls (P = 0.049 for C-alpha test and P = 0.055 for SKAT). Together, these data suggest that PLB1 is a candidate risk gene for RA. Future studies to characterize the full spectrum of genetic risk in the PLB1 genetic locus are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3919745  PMID: 24520335
21.  Activating HER2 mutations in HER2 gene amplification negative breast cancer 
Cancer discovery  2012;3(2):224-237.
Data from eight breast cancer genome sequencing projects identified 25 patients with HER2 somatic mutations in cancers lacking HER2 gene amplification. To determine the phenotype of these mutations, we functionally characterized thirteen HER2 mutations using in vitro kinase assays, protein structure analysis, cell culture and xenograft experiments. Seven of these mutations are activating mutations, including G309A, D769H, D769Y, V777L, P780ins, V842I, and R896C. HER2 in-frame deletion 755-759, which is homologous to EGFR exon 19 in-frame deletions, had a neomorphic phenotype with increased phosphorylation of EGFR or HER3. L755S produced lapatinib resistance, but was not an activating mutation in our experimental systems. All of these mutations were sensitive to the irreversible kinase inhibitor, neratinib. These findings demonstrate that HER2 somatic mutation is an alternative mechanism to activate HER2 in breast cancer and they validate HER2 somatic mutations as drug targets for breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3570596  PMID: 23220880
Genomics; Breast Cancer; Receptor Tyrosine Kinase; Oncogene
22.  RB1 gene inactivation by chromothripsis in human retinoblastoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(2):438-450.
Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer of the developing retina. Most retinoblastomas initiate with biallelic inactivation of the RB1 gene through diverse mechanisms including point mutations, nucleotide insertions, deletions, loss of heterozygosity and promoter hypermethylation. Recently, a novel mechanism of retinoblastoma initiation was proposed. Gallie and colleagues discovered that a small proportion of retinoblastomas lack RB1 mutations and had MYCN amplification [1]. In this study, we identifed recurrent chromosomal, regional and focal genomic lesions in 94 primary retinoblastomas with their matched normal DNA using SNP 6.0 chips. We also analyzed the RB1 gene mutations and compared the mechanism of RB1 inactivation to the recurrent copy number variations in the retinoblastoma genome. In addition to the previously described focal amplification of MYCN and deletions in RB1 and BCOR, we also identifed recurrent focal amplification of OTX2, a transcription factor required for retinal photoreceptor development. We identifed 10 retinoblastomas in our cohort that lacked RB1 point mutations or indels. We performed whole genome sequencing on those 10 tumors and their corresponding germline DNA. In one of the tumors, the RB1 gene was unaltered, the MYCN gene was amplified and RB1 protein was expressed in the nuclei of the tumor cells. In addition, several tumors had complex patterns of structural variations and we identified 3 tumors with chromothripsis at the RB1 locus. This is the first report of chromothripsis as a mechanism for RB1 gene inactivation in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3964219  PMID: 24509483
chromothripsis; retinoblastoma; RB1; MYCN
23.  Genome Sequencing and Cancer 
New technologies for DNA sequencing, coupled with advanced analytical approaches, are now providing unprecedented speed and precision in decoding human genomes. This combination of technology and analysis, when applied to the study of cancer genomes, is revealing specific and novel information about the fundamental genetic mechanisms that underlie cancer’s development and progression. This review outlines the history of the past several years of development in this realm, and discusses the current and future applications that will further elucidate cancer’s genomic causes.
PMCID: PMC3890425  PMID: 22534183
24.  Complete Khoisan and Bantu genomes from southern Africa 
Nature  2010;463(7283):943-947.
The genetic structure of the indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa, the oldest known lineage of modern human, is important for understanding human diversity. Studies based on mitochondrial1 and small sets of nuclear markers2 have shown that these hunter-gatherers, known as Khoisan, San, or Bushmen, are genetically divergent from other humans1,3. However, until now, fully sequenced human genomes have been limited to recently diverged populations4–8. Here we present the complete genome sequences of an indigenous hunter-gatherer from the Kalahari Desert and a Bantu from southern Africa, as well as protein-coding regions from an additional three hunter-gatherers from disparate regions of the Kalahari. We characterize the extent of whole-genome and exome diversity among the five men, reporting 1.3 million novel DNA differences genome-wide, including 13,146 novel amino acid variants. In terms of nucleotide substitutions, the Bushmen seem to be, on average, more different from each other than, for example, a European and an Asian. Observed genomic differences between the hunter-gatherers and others may help to pinpoint genetic adaptations to an agricultural lifestyle. Adding the described variants to current databases will facilitate inclusion of southern Africans in medical research efforts, particularly when family and medical histories can be correlated with genome-wide data.
PMCID: PMC3890430  PMID: 20164927
25.  Endocrine-Therapy-Resistant ESR1 Variants Revealed by Genomic Characterization of Breast-Cancer-Derived Xenografts 
Cell reports  2013;4(6):10.1016/j.celrep.2013.08.022.
To characterize patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) for functional studies, we made whole-genome comparisons with originating breast cancers representative of the major intrinsic subtypes. Structural and copy number aberrations were found to be retained with high fidelity. However, at the single-nucleotide level, variable numbers of PDX-specific somatic events were documented, although they were only rarely functionally significant. Variant allele frequencies were often preserved in the PDXs, demonstrating that clonal representation can be transplantable. Estrogen-receptor-positive PDXs were associated with ESR1 ligand-binding-domain mutations, gene amplification, or an ESR1/YAP1 translocation. These events produced different endocrine-therapy-response phenotypes in human, cell line, and PDX endocrine-response studies. Hence, deeply sequenced PDX models are an important resource for the search for genome-forward treatment options and capture endocrine-drug-resistance etiologies that are not observed in standard cell lines. The originating tumor genome provides a benchmark for assessing genetic drift and clonal representation after transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3881975  PMID: 24055055

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