Building a population-specific catalogue of single nucleotide variants (SNVs), indels and structural variants (SVs) with frequencies, termed a national pan-genome, is critical for further advancing clinical and public health genetics in large cohorts. Here we report a Danish pan-genome obtained from sequencing 10 trios to high depth (50 × ). We report 536k novel SNVs and 283k novel short indels from mapping approaches and develop a population-wide de novo assembly approach to identify 132k novel indels larger than 10 nucleotides with low false discovery rates. We identify a higher proportion of indels and SVs than previous efforts showing the merits of high coverage and de novo assembly approaches. In addition, we use trio information to identify de novo mutations and use a probabilistic method to provide direct estimates of 1.27e−8 and 1.5e−9 per nucleotide per generation for SNVs and indels, respectively.
The generation of a national pan-genome, a population-specific catalogue of genetic variation, may advance the impact of clinical genetics studies. Here the Besenbacher et al. carry out deep sequencing and de novo assembly of 10 parent–child trios to generate a Danish pan-genome that provides insight into structural variation, de novo mutation rates and variant calling.
Next generation sequencing (NGS) is now being used for detecting chromosomal abnormalities in blastocyst trophectoderm (TE) cells from in vitro fertilized embryos. However, few data are available regarding the clinical outcome, which provides vital reference for further application of the methodology. Here, we present a clinical evaluation of NGS-based preimplantation genetic diagnosis/screening (PGD/PGS) compared with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array-based PGD/PGS as a control.
A total of 395 couples participated. They were carriers of either translocation or inversion mutations, or were patients with recurrent miscarriage and/or advanced maternal age. A total of 1,512 blastocysts were biopsied on D5 after fertilization, with 1,058 blastocysts set aside for SNP array testing and 454 blastocysts for NGS testing. In the NGS cycles group, the implantation, clinical pregnancy and miscarriage rates were 52.6% (60/114), 61.3% (49/80) and 14.3% (7/49), respectively. In the SNP array cycles group, the implantation, clinical pregnancy and miscarriage rates were 47.6% (139/292), 56.7% (115/203) and 14.8% (17/115), respectively. The outcome measures of both the NGS and SNP array cycles were the same with insignificant differences. There were 150 blastocysts that underwent both NGS and SNP array analysis, of which seven blastocysts were found with inconsistent signals. All other signals obtained from NGS analysis were confirmed to be accurate by validation with qPCR. The relative copy number of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) for each blastocyst that underwent NGS testing was evaluated, and a significant difference was found between the copy number of mtDNA for the euploid and the chromosomally abnormal blastocysts. So far, out of 42 ongoing pregnancies, 24 babies were born in NGS cycles; all of these babies are healthy and free of any developmental problems.
This study provides the first evaluation of the clinical outcomes of NGS-based pre-implantation genetic diagnosis/screening, and shows the reliability of this method in a clinical and array-based laboratory setting. NGS provides an accurate approach to detect embryonic imbalanced segmental rearrangements, to avoid the potential risks of false signals from SNP array in this study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2047-217X-3-30) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis/screening; Next generation sequencing; Blastocyst; Cryopreserved embryo transfer; Clinical outcome
To re-examine the correlation between mtDNA variability and longevity, we examined mtDNAs from samples obtained from over 2200 ultranonagenarians (and an equal number of controls) collected within the framework of the GEHA EU project. The samples were categorized by high-resolution classification, while about 1300 mtDNA molecules (650 ultranonagenarians and an equal number of controls) were completely sequenced. Sequences, unlike standard haplogroup analysis, made possible to evaluate for the first time the cumulative effects of specific, concomitant mtDNA mutations, including those that per se have a low, or very low, impact. In particular, the analysis of the mutations occurring in different OXPHOS complex showed a complex scenario with a different mutation burden in 90+ subjects with respect to controls. These findings suggested that mutations in subunits of the OXPHOS complex I had a beneficial effect on longevity, while the simultaneous presence of mutations in complex I and III (which also occurs in J subhaplogroups involved in LHON) and in complex I and V seemed to be detrimental, likely explaining previous contradictory results. On the whole, our study, which goes beyond haplogroup analysis, suggests that mitochondrial DNA variation does affect human longevity, but its effect is heavily influenced by the interaction between mutations concomitantly occurring on different mtDNA genes.
genetics of longevity; longevity; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA sequencing; oxidative phosphorylation
Using next-generation sequencing technology alone, we have successfully generated and assembled a draft sequence of the giant panda genome. The assembled contigs (2.25 gigabases (Gb)) cover approximately 94% of the whole genome, and the remaining gaps (0.05 Gb) seem to contain carnivore-specific repeats and tandem repeats. Comparisons with the dog and human showed that the panda genome has a lower divergence rate. The assessment of panda genes potentially underlying some of its unique traits indicated that its bamboo diet might be more dependent on its gut microbiome than its own genetic composition. We also identified more than 2.7 million heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the diploid genome. Our data and analyses provide a foundation for promoting mammalian genetic research, and demonstrate the feasibility for using next-generation sequencing technologies for accurate, cost-effective and rapid de novo assembly of large eukaryotic genomes.
Development of resistance to tamoxifen is an important clinical issue in the treatment of breast cancer. Tamoxifen resistance may be the result of acquisition of epigenetic regulation within breast cancer cells, such as DNA methylation, resulting in changed mRNA expression of genes pivotal for estrogen-dependent growth. Alternatively, tamoxifen resistance may be due to selection of pre-existing resistant cells, or a combination of the two mechanisms.
To evaluate the contribution of these possible tamoxifen resistance mechanisms, we applied modified DNA methylation-specific digital karyotyping (MMSDK) and digital gene expression (DGE) in combination with massive parallel sequencing to analyze a well-established tamoxifen-resistant cell line model (TAMR), consisting of 4 resistant and one parental cell line. Another tamoxifen-resistant cell line model system (LCC1/LCC2) was used to validate the DNA methylation and gene expression results.
Significant differences were observed in global gene expression and DNA methylation profiles between the parental tamoxifen-sensitive cell line and the 4 tamoxifen-resistant TAMR sublines. The 4 TAMR cell lines exhibited higher methylation levels as well as an inverse relationship between gene expression and DNA methylation in the promoter regions. A panel of genes, including NRIP1, HECA and FIS1, exhibited lower gene expression in resistant vs. parental cells and concurrent increased promoter CGI methylation in resistant vs. parental cell lines. A major part of the methylation, gene expression, and pathway alterations observed in the TAMR model were also present in the LCC1/LCC2 cell line model. More importantly, high expression of SOX2 and alterations of other SOX and E2F gene family members, as well as RB-related pocket protein genes in TAMR highlighted stem cell-associated pathways as being central in the resistant cells and imply that cancer-initiating cells/cancer stem-like cells may be involved in tamoxifen resistance in this model.
Our data highlight the likelihood that resistant cells emerge from cancer-initiating cells/cancer stem-like cells and imply that these cells may gain further advantage in growth via epigenetic mechanisms. Illuminating the expression and DNA methylation features of putative cancer-initiating cells/cancer stem cells may suggest novel strategies to overcome tamoxifen resistance.
Minipigs have become important biomedical models for human ailments due to similarities in organ anatomy, physiology, and circadian rhythms relative to humans. The homeostasis of circadian rhythms in both central and peripheral tissues is pivotal for numerous biological processes. Hence, biological rhythm disorders may contribute to the onset of cancers and metabolic disorders including obesity and type II diabetes, amongst others. A tight regulation of circadian clock effectors ensures a rhythmic expression profile of output genes which, depending on cell type, constitute about 3–20% of the transcribed mammalian genome. Central to this system is the negative regulator protein Cryptochrome 1 (CRY1) of which the dysfunction or absence has been linked to the pathogenesis of rhythm disorders. In this study, we generated transgenic Bama-minipigs featuring expression of the Cys414-Ala antimorphic human Cryptochrome 1 mutant (hCRY1AP). Using transgenic donor fibroblasts as nuclear donors, the method of handmade cloning (HMC) was used to produce reconstructed embryos, subsequently transferred to surrogate sows. A total of 23 viable piglets were delivered. All were transgenic and seemingly healthy. However, two pigs with high transgene expression succumbed during the first two months. Molecular analyzes in epidermal fibroblasts demonstrated disturbances to the expression profile of core circadian clock genes and elevated expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, known to be risk factors in cancer and metabolic disorders.
We describe a simple method for bone engineering using biodegradable scaffolds with mesenchymal stem cells derived from human induced-pluripotent stem cells (hiPS-MSCs). The hiPS-MSCs expressed mesenchymal markers (CD90, CD73, and CD105), possessed multipotency characterized by tri-lineages differentiation: osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic, and lost pluripotency – as seen with the loss of markers OCT3/4 and TRA-1-81 – and tumorigenicity. However, these iPS-MSCs are still positive for marker NANOG. We further explored the osteogenic potential of the hiPS-MSCs in synthetic polymer polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds or PCL scaffolds functionalized with natural polymer hyaluronan and ceramic TCP (PHT) both in vitro and in vivo. Our results showed that these iPS-MSCs are functionally compatible with the two 3D scaffolds tested and formed typically calcified structure in the scaffolds. Overall, our results suggest the iPS-MSCs derived by this simple method retain fully osteogenic function and provide a new solution towards personalized orthopedic therapy in the future.
Residents of the Tibetan Plateau show heritable adaptations to extreme altitude. We sequenced 50 exomes of ethnic Tibetans, encompassing coding sequences of 92% of human genes, with an average coverage of 18X per individual. Genes showing population-specific allele frequency changes, which represent strong candidates for altitude adaptation, were identified. The strongest signal of natural selection came from EPAS1, a transcription factor involved in response to hypoxia. One SNP at EPAS1 shows a 78% frequency difference between Tibetan and Han samples, representing the fastest allele frequency change observed at any human gene to date. This SNP’s association with erythrocyte abundance supports the role of EPAS1 in adaptation to hypoxia. Thus, a population genomic survey has revealed a functionally important locus in genetic adaptation to high altitude.
Production of transgenic animals via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been adapted worldwide, but this application is somewhat limited by its relatively low efficiency. In this study, we used handmade cloning (HMC) established previously to produce transgenic pigs that express the functional nematode fat-1 gene. Codon-optimized mfat-1 was inserted into eukaryotic expression vectors, which were transferred into primary swine donor cells. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), gas chromatography, and chromosome analyses were performed to select donor clones capable of converting n-6 into n-3 fatty acids. Blastocysts derived from the clones that lowered the n-6/n-3 ratio to approximately 1:1 were transferred surgically into the uteri of recipients for transgenic piglets. By HMC, 37% (n=558) of reconstructed embryos developed to the blastocyst stage after 7 days of culture in vitro, with an average cell number of 81±36 (n=14). Three recipients became pregnant after 408 day-6 blastocysts were transferred into four naturally cycling females, and a total of 14 live offspring were produced. The nematode mfat-1 effectively lowered the n-6/n-3 ratio in muscle and major organs of the transgenic pig. Our results will help to establish a reliable procedure and an efficient option in the production of transgenic animals.
For 10,000 years pigs and humans have shared a close and complex relationship. From domestication to modern breeding practices, humans have shaped the genomes of domestic pigs. Here we present the assembly and analysis of the genome sequence of a female domestic Duroc pig (Sus scrofa) and a comparison with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Wild pigs emerged in South East Asia and subsequently spread across Eurasia. Our results reveal a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars ~1 million years ago, and a selective sweep analysis indicates selection on genes involved in RNA processing and regulation. Genes associated with immune response and olfaction exhibit fast evolution. Pigs have the largest repertoire of functional olfactory receptor genes, reflecting the importance of smell in this scavenging animal. The pig genome sequence provides an important resource for further improvements of this important livestock species, and our identification of many putative disease-causing variants extends the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.
The pig is an economically important food source, amounting to approximately 40% of all meat consumed worldwide. Pigs also serve as an important model organism because of their similarity to humans at the anatomical, physiological and genetic level, making them very useful for studying a variety of human diseases. A pig strain of particular interest is the miniature pig, specifically the Wuzhishan pig (WZSP), as it has been extensively inbred. Its high level of homozygosity offers increased ease for selective breeding for specific traits and a more straightforward understanding of the genetic changes that underlie its biological characteristics. WZSP also serves as a promising means for applications in surgery, tissue engineering, and xenotransplantation. Here, we report the sequencing and analysis of an inbreeding WZSP genome.
Our results reveal some unique genomic features, including a relatively high level of homozygosity in the diploid genome, an unusual distribution of heterozygosity, an over-representation of tRNA-derived transposable elements, a small amount of porcine endogenous retrovirus, and a lack of type C retroviruses. In addition, we carried out systematic research on gene evolution, together with a detailed investigation of the counterparts of human drug target genes.
Our results provide the opportunity to more clearly define the genomic character of pig, which could enhance our ability to create more useful pig models.
Wuzhishan pig; Genome; Homozygosis; Transposable element; Endogenous retrovirus; Animal model
Hydatidiform mole (HM) is an abnormal human pregnancy, where the placenta presents with vesicular swelling of the chorionic villi. A fetus is either not present, or malformed and not viable. Most moles are diploid androgenetic as if one spermatozoon fertilized an empty oocyte, or triploid with one maternal and two paternal chromosome sets as if two spermatozoa fertilized a normal oocyte. However, diploid moles with both paternal and maternal markers of the nuclear genome have been reported. Among 162 consecutively collected diploid moles, we have earlier found indications of both maternal and paternal genomes in 11. In the present study, we have performed detailed analysis of DNA-markers in tissue and single cells from these 11 HMs. In 3/11, we identified one biparental cell population only, whereas in 8/11, we demonstrated mosaicism: one biparental cell population and one androgenetic cell population. One mosaic mole was followed by persistent trophoblastic disease (PTD). In seven of the mosaics, one spermatozoon appeared to have contributed to the genomes of both cell types. Our observations make it likely that mosaic conceptuses, encompassing an androgenetic cell population, result from various postzygotic abnormalities, including paternal pronuclear duplication, asymmetric cytokinesis, and postzygotic diploidization. This corroborates the suggestion that fertilization of an empty egg is not mandatory for the creation of an androgenetic cell population. Future studies of mosaic conceptuses may disclose details about fertilization, early cell divisions and differentiation. Apparently, only a minority of diploid moles with both paternal and maternal markers are ‘genuine' diploid biparental moles (DiBiparHMs).
hydatidiform mole; mosaicism; biparental diploidy; triploidy; genomic imprinting; persistent trophoblastic disease
The FET family of proteins is composed of FUS/TLS, EWS/EWSR1, and TAF15 and possesses RNA- and DNA-binding capacities. The FET-proteins are involved in transcriptional regulation and RNA processing, and FET-gene deregulation is associated with development of cancer and protein granule formations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and trinucleotide repeat expansion diseases. We here describe a comparative characterization of FET-protein localization and gene regulatory functions. We show that FUS and TAF15 locate to cellular stress granules to a larger extend than EWS. FET-proteins have no major importance for stress granule formation and cellular stress responses, indicating that FET-protein stress granule association most likely is a downstream response to cellular stress. Gene expression analyses showed that the cellular response towards FUS and TAF15 reduction is relatively similar whereas EWS reduction resulted in a more unique response. The presented data support that FUS and TAF15 are more functionally related to each other, and that the FET-proteins have distinct functions in cellular signaling pathways which could have implications for the neurological disease pathogenesis.
Cancers arise through an evolutionary process in which cell populations are subjected to selection; however, to date, the process of bladder cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in the world, remains unknown at a single-cell level.
We carried out single-cell exome sequencing of 66 individual tumor cells from a muscle-invasive bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Analyses of the somatic mutant allele frequency spectrum and clonal structure revealed that the tumor cells were derived from a single ancestral cell, but that subsequent evolution occurred, leading to two distinct tumor cell subpopulations. By analyzing recurrently mutant genes in an additional cohort of 99 TCC tumors, we identified genes that might play roles in the maintenance of the ancestral clone and in the muscle-invasive capability of subclones of this bladder cancer, respectively.
This work provides a new approach of investigating the genetic details of bladder tumoral changes at the single-cell level and a new method for assessing bladder cancer evolution at a cell-population level.
Single-cell exome sequencing; Bladder cancer; Tumor evolution; Population genetics
Timely intervention for cancer requires knowledge of its earliest genetic aberrations. Sequencing of tumors and their metastases reveals numerous abnormalities occurring late in progression. A means to temporally order aberrations in a single cancer, rather than inferring them from serially acquired samples, would define changes preceding even clinically evident disease. We integrate DNA sequence and copy number information to reconstruct the order of abnormalities as individual tumors evolve for two separate cancer types. We detect vast, unreported expansion of simple mutation sharply demarcated by recombinative loss of the second copy of TP53 in cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCCs) and serous ovarian adenocarcinomas, in the former surpassing 50 mutations per megabase. In cSCCs, we also report diverse secondary mutations in known and novel oncogenic pathways, illustrating how such expanded mutagenesis directly promotes malignant progression. These results reframe paradigms in which TP53 mutation is required later, to bypass senescence induced by driver oncogenes.
mutation; p53; cancer genetics; genomic; Notch
Integrins constitute a superfamily of transmembrane signaling receptors that play pivotal roles in cutaneous homeostasis by modulating cell growth and differentiation as well as inflammatory responses in the skin. Subrabasal expression of integrins α2 and/or β1 entails hyperproliferation and aberrant differentiation of keratinocytes and leads to dermal and epidermal influx of activated T-cells. The anatomical and physiological similarities between porcine and human skin make the pig a suitable model for human skin diseases. In efforts to generate a porcine model of cutaneous inflammation, we employed the Sleeping Beauty DNA transposon system for production of transgenic cloned Göttingen minipigs expressing human β1 or α2 integrin under the control of a promoter specific for subrabasal keratinocytes. Using pools of transgenic donor fibroblasts, cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer was utilized to produce reconstructed embryos that were subsequently transferred to surrogate sows. The resulting pigs were all transgenic and harbored from one to six transgene integrants. Molecular analyses on skin biopsies and cultured keratinocytes showed ectopic expression of the human integrins and localization within the keratinocyte plasma membrane. Markers of perturbed skin homeostasis, including activation of the MAPK pathway, increased expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1α, and enhanced expression of the transcription factor c-Fos, were identified in keratinocytes from β1 and α2 integrin-transgenic minipigs, suggesting the induction of a chronic inflammatory phenotype in the skin. Notably, cellular dysregulation obtained by overexpression of either β1 or α2 integrin occurred through different cellular signaling pathways. Our findings mark the creation of the first cloned pig models with molecular markers of skin inflammation. Despite the absence of an overt psoriatic phenotype, these animals may possess increased susceptibility to severe skin damage-induced inflammation and should be of great potential in studies aiming at the development and refinement of topical therapies for cutaneous inflammation including psoriasis.
Animal breeding via Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) has enormous potential in agriculture and biomedicine. However, concerns about whether SCNT animals are as healthy or epigenetically normal as conventionally bred ones are raised as the efficiency of cloning by SCNT is much lower than natural breeding or In-vitro fertilization (IVF). Thus, we have conducted a genome-wide gene expression and DNA methylation profiling between phenotypically normal cloned pigs and control pigs in two tissues (muscle and liver), using Affymetrix Porcine expression array as well as modified methylation-specific digital karyotyping (MMSDK) and Solexa sequencing technology. Typical tissue-specific differences with respect to both gene expression and DNA methylation were observed in muscle and liver from cloned as well as control pigs. Gene expression profiles were highly similar between cloned pigs and controls, though a small set of genes showed altered expression. Cloned pigs presented a more different pattern of DNA methylation in unique sequences in both tissues. Especially a small set of genomic sites had different DNA methylation status with a trend towards slightly increased methylation levels in cloned pigs. Molecular network analysis of the genes that contained such differential methylation loci revealed a significant network related to tissue development. In conclusion, our study showed that phenotypically normal cloned pigs were highly similar with normal breeding pigs in their gene expression, but moderate alteration in DNA methylation aspects still exists, especially in certain unique genomic regions.
Gene targeting by homologous recombination using recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) is becoming a useful tool for basic research and therapeutic applications due to the remarkably high targeting frequency of rAAV virus vectors. However, the screening for the pure gene-targeted and random-integration-free primary cell clones is difficult since the cells have a limited proliferation capacity and often cannot be grown to produce sufficient DNA for non-PCR based analysis. This hampers the applications of this technology.
In this study, we have developed an improved PCR screening method, which can be used for fast screening of clones with unwanted random integration (RI) of the rAAV genome. This improved screening method includes four PCRs: a PCR for the selection gene (e.g. Neo-PCR), a PCR for targeted gene knockout (e.g. BRCA1-KO-PCR), and two generalized PCRs for random integration of the rAAV genome (5'-AAV-RI-PCR, and 3'-AAV-RI-PCR). We have shown that this screening method greatly facilitates the procedure of screening for BRCA1 (BReast CAncer susceptibility gene 1) targeted cell clones, eliminating cell clones with both BRCA1 knockout and random integration of the rAAV genome.
This screening method has facilitated the screening of correct gene-targeted cells. As the AAV-RI-PCRs are generalized PCRs, this method can also be applied for screening of rAAV-mediated targeting of other genes.
Analogues of vitamin D3 are extensively used in the treatment of various illnesses, such as osteoporosis, inflammatory skin diseases, and cancer. Functional testing of new vitamin D3 analogues and formulations for improved systemic and topical administration is supported by sensitive screening methods that allow a comparative evaluation of drug properties. As a new tool in functional screening of vitamin D3 analogues, we describe a genomically integratable sensor for sensitive drug detection. This system facilitates assessment of the pharmacokinetic and pharmadynamic properties of vitamin D3 analogues. The tri-cistronic genetic sensor encodes a drug-sensoring protein, a reporter protein expressed from an activated sensor-responsive promoter, and a resistance marker.
The three expression cassettes, inserted in a head-to-tail orientation in a Sleeping Beauty DNA transposon vector, are efficiently inserted as a single genetic entity into the genome of cells of interest in a reaction catalyzed by the hyperactive SB100X transposase. The applicability of the sensor for screening purposes is demonstrated by the functional comparison of potent synthetic analogues of vitamin D3 designed for the treatment of psoriasis and cancer. In clones of human keratinocytes carrying from a single to numerous insertions of the vitamin D3 sensor, a sensitive sensor read-out is detected upon exposure to even low concentrations of vitamin D3 analogues. In comparative studies, the sensor unveils superior potency of new candidate drugs in comparison with analogues that are currently in clinical use.
Our findings demonstrate the use of the genetic sensor as a tool in first-line evaluation of new vitamin D3 analogues and pave the way for new types of drug delivery studies in sensor-transgenic animals.
Transfer of full-length genes including regulatory elements has been the preferred gene therapy strategy for clinical applications. However, with significant drawbacks emerging, targeted gene alteration (TGA) has recently become a promising alternative to this method. By means of TGA, endogenous DNA repair pathways of the cell are activated leading to specific genetic correction of single-base mutations in the genome. This strategy can be implemented using single-stranded oligodeoxyribonucleotides (ssODNs), small DNA fragments (SDFs), triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs), adeno-associated virus vectors (AAVs) and zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs). Despite difficulties in the use of TGA, including lack of knowledge on the repair mechanisms stimulated by the individual methods, the field holds great promise for the future. The objective of this review is to summarize and evaluate the different methods that exist within this particular area of human gene therapy research.
Different cell subpopulations in a single tumor may show diverse capacities for growth, differentiation, metastasis formation, and sensitivity to treatments. Thus, heterogeneity is an important feature of tumors. However, due to limitations in experimental and analytical techniques, tumor heterogeneity has rarely been studied in detail.
Presentation of the hypothesis
Different tumor types have different heterogeneity patterns, thus heterogeneity could be a characteristic feature of a particular tumor type.
Testing the hypothesis
We applied our previously published mathematical heterogeneity model to decipher tumor heterogeneity through the analysis of genetic copy number aberrations revealed by array CGH data for tumors of three different tissues: breast, colon, and skin. The model estimates the number of subpopulations present in each tumor. The analysis confirms that different tumor types have different heterogeneity patterns. Computationally derived genomic copy number profiles from each subpopulation have also been analyzed and discussed with reference to the multiple hypothetical relationships between subpopulations in origin-related samples.
Implications of the hypothesis
Our observations imply that tumor heterogeneity could be seen as an independent parameter for determining the characteristics of tumors. In the context of more comprehensive usage of array CGH or genome sequencing in a clinical setting our study provides a new way to realize the full potential of tumor genetic analysis.
Analysis across the genome of patterns of DNA methylation reveals a rich landscape of allele-specific epigenetic modification and consequent effects on allele-specific gene expression.
DNA methylation plays an important role in biological processes in human health and disease. Recent technological advances allow unbiased whole-genome DNA methylation (methylome) analysis to be carried out on human cells. Using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing at 24.7-fold coverage (12.3-fold per strand), we report a comprehensive (92.62%) methylome and analysis of the unique sequences in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the same Asian individual whose genome was deciphered in the YH project. PBMC constitute an important source for clinical blood tests world-wide. We found that 68.4% of CpG sites and <0.2% of non-CpG sites were methylated, demonstrating that non-CpG cytosine methylation is minor in human PBMC. Analysis of the PBMC methylome revealed a rich epigenomic landscape for 20 distinct genomic features, including regulatory, protein-coding, non-coding, RNA-coding, and repeat sequences. Integration of our methylome data with the YH genome sequence enabled a first comprehensive assessment of allele-specific methylation (ASM) between the two haploid methylomes of any individual and allowed the identification of 599 haploid differentially methylated regions (hDMRs) covering 287 genes. Of these, 76 genes had hDMRs within 2 kb of their transcriptional start sites of which >80% displayed allele-specific expression (ASE). These data demonstrate that ASM is a recurrent phenomenon and is highly correlated with ASE in human PBMCs. Together with recently reported similar studies, our study provides a comprehensive resource for future epigenomic research and confirms new sequencing technology as a paradigm for large-scale epigenomics studies.
Epigenetic modifications such as addition of methyl groups to cytosine in DNA play a role in regulating gene expression. To better understand these processes, knowledge of the methylation status of all cytosine bases in the genome (the methylome) is required. DNA methylation can differ between the two gene copies (alleles) in each cell. Such allele-specific methylation (ASM) can be due to parental origin of the alleles (imprinting), X chromosome inactivation in females, and other as yet unknown mechanisms. This may significantly alter the expression profile arising from different allele combinations in different individuals. Using advanced sequencing technology, we have determined the methylome of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Importantly, the PBMC were obtained from the same male Han Chinese individual whose complete genome had previously been determined. This allowed us, for the first time, to study genome-wide differences in ASM. Our analysis shows that ASM in PBMC is higher than can be accounted for by regions known to undergo parent-of-origin imprinting and frequently (>80%) correlates with allele-specific expression (ASE) of the corresponding gene. In addition, our data reveal a rich landscape of epigenomic variation for 20 genomic features, including regulatory, coding, and non-coding sequences, and provide a valuable resource for future studies. Our work further establishes whole-genome sequencing as an efficient method for methylome analysis.