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1.  Massively Parallel Sequencing Reveals the Complex Structure of an Irradiated Human Chromosome on a Mouse Background in the Tc1 Model of Down Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60482.
Down syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and presents a complex phenotype that arises from abnormal dosage of genes on this chromosome. However, the individual dosage-sensitive genes underlying each phenotype remain largely unknown. To help dissect genotype – phenotype correlations in this complex syndrome, the first fully transchromosomic mouse model, the Tc1 mouse, which carries a copy of human chromosome 21 was produced in 2005. The Tc1 strain is trisomic for the majority of genes that cause phenotypes associated with DS, and this freely available mouse strain has become used widely to study DS, the effects of gene dosage abnormalities, and the effect on the basic biology of cells when a mouse carries a freely segregating human chromosome. Tc1 mice were created by a process that included irradiation microcell-mediated chromosome transfer of Hsa21 into recipient mouse embryonic stem cells. Here, the combination of next generation sequencing, array-CGH and fluorescence in situ hybridization technologies has enabled us to identify unsuspected rearrangements of Hsa21 in this mouse model; revealing one deletion, six duplications and more than 25 de novo structural rearrangements. Our study is not only essential for informing functional studies of the Tc1 mouse but also (1) presents for the first time a detailed sequence analysis of the effects of gamma radiation on an entire human chromosome, which gives some mechanistic insight into the effects of radiation damage on DNA, and (2) overcomes specific technical difficulties of assaying a human chromosome on a mouse background where highly conserved sequences may confound the analysis. Sequence data generated in this study is deposited in the ENA database, Study Accession number: ERP000439.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060482
PMCID: PMC3626651  PMID: 23596509
2.  FoSTeS, MMBIR and NAHR at the human proximal Xp region and the mechanisms of human Xq isochromosome formation 
Human molecular genetics  2011;20(10):1925-1936.
The recently described DNA replication-based mechanisms of fork stalling and template switching (FoSTeS) and microhomology-mediated break-induced replication (MMBIR) were previously shown to catalyze complex exonic, genic and genomic rearrangements. By analyzing a large number of isochromosomes of the long arm of chromosome X (i(Xq)), using whole-genome tiling path array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), ultra-high resolution targeted aCGH and sequencing, we provide evidence that the FoSTeS and MMBIR mechanisms can generate large-scale gross chromosomal rearrangements leading to the deletion and duplication of entire chromosome arms, thus suggesting an important role for DNA replication-based mechanisms in both the development of genomic disorders and cancer. Furthermore, we elucidate the mechanisms of dicentric i(Xq) (idic(Xq)) formation and show that most idic(Xq) chromosomes result from non-allelic homologous recombination between palindromic low copy repeats and highly homologous palindromic LINE elements. We also show that non-recurrent-breakpoint idic(Xq) chromosomes have microhomology-associated breakpoint junctions and are likely catalyzed by microhomology-mediated replication-dependent recombination mechanisms such as FoSTeS and MMBIR. Finally, we stress the role of the proximal Xp region as a chromosomal rearrangement hotspot.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr074
PMCID: PMC3428953  PMID: 21349920
3.  aCGH.Spline—an R package for aCGH dye bias normalization 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(9):1195-1200.
Motivation: The careful normalization of array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) data is of critical importance for the accurate detection of copy number changes. The difference in labelling affinity between the two fluorophores used in aCGH—usually Cy5 and Cy3—can be observed as a bias within the intensity distributions. If left unchecked, this bias is likely to skew data interpretation during downstream analysis and lead to an increased number of false discoveries.
Results: In this study, we have developed aCGH.Spline, a natural cubic spline interpolation method followed by linear interpolation of outlier values, which is able to remove a large portion of the dye bias from large aCGH datasets in a quick and efficient manner.
Conclusions: We have shown that removing this bias and reducing the experimental noise has a strong positive impact on the ability to detect accurately both copy number variation (CNV) and copy number alterations (CNA).
Contact: l.larcombe@cranfield.ac.uk; tf2@sanger.ac.uk
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr107
PMCID: PMC3077069  PMID: 21357574
4.  Comprehensive assessment of array-based platforms and calling algorithms for detection of copy number variants 
Nature Biotechnology  2011;29(6):512-520.
We have systematically compared copy number variant (CNV) detection on eleven microarrays to evaluate data quality and CNV calling, reproducibility, concordance across array platforms and laboratory sites, breakpoint accuracy and analysis tool variability. Different analytic tools applied to the same raw data typically yield CNV calls with <50% concordance. Moreover, reproducibility in replicate experiments is <70% for most platforms. Nevertheless, these findings should not preclude detection of large CNVs for clinical diagnostic purposes because large CNVs with poor reproducibility are found primarily in complex genomic regions and would typically be removed by standard clinical data curation. The striking differences between CNV calls from different platforms and analytic tools highlight the importance of careful assessment of experimental design in discovery and association studies and of strict data curation and filtering in diagnostics. The CNV resource presented here allows independent data evaluation and provides a means to benchmark new algorithms.
doi:10.1038/nbt.1852
PMCID: PMC3270583  PMID: 21552272
5.  Genomic and Genic Deletions of the FOX Gene Cluster on 16q24.1 and Inactivating Mutations of FOXF1 Cause Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia and Other Malformations 
Alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of pulmonary veins (ACD/MPV) is a rare, neonatally lethal developmental disorder of the lung with defining histologic abnormalities typically associated with multiple congenital anomalies (MCA). Using array CGH analysis, we have identified six overlapping microdeletions encompassing the FOX transcription factor gene cluster in chromosome 16q24.1q24.2 in patients with ACD/MPV and MCA. Subsequently, we have identified four different heterozygous mutations (frameshift, nonsense, and no-stop) in the candidate FOXF1 gene in unrelated patients with sporadic ACD/MPV and MCA. Custom-designed, high-resolution microarray analysis of additional ACD/MPV samples revealed one microdeletion harboring FOXF1 and two distinct microdeletions upstream of FOXF1, implicating a position effect. DNA sequence analysis revealed that in six of nine deletions, both breakpoints occurred in the portions of Alu elements showing eight to 43 base pairs of perfect microhomology, suggesting replication error Microhomology-Mediated Break-Induced Replication (MMBIR)/Fork Stalling and Template Switching (FoSTeS) as a mechanism of their formation. In contrast to the association of point mutations in FOXF1 with bowel malrotation, microdeletions of FOXF1 were associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and gastrointestinal atresias, probably due to haploinsufficiency for the neighboring FOXC2 and FOXL1 genes. These differences reveal the phenotypic consequences of gene alterations in cis.
doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.05.005
PMCID: PMC2694971  PMID: 19500772
6.  Genomic and Genic Deletions of the FOX Gene Cluster on 16q24.1 and Inactivating Mutations of FOXF1 Cause Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia and Other Malformations 
Alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of pulmonary veins (ACD/MPV) is a rare, neonatally lethal developmental disorder of the lung with defining histologic abnormalities typically associated with multiple congenital anomalies (MCA). Using array CGH analysis, we have identified six overlapping microdeletions encompassing the FOX transcription factor gene cluster in chromosome 16q24.1q24.2 in patients with ACD/MPV and MCA. Subsequently, we have identified four different heterozygous mutations (frameshift, nonsense, and no-stop) in the candidate FOXF1 gene in unrelated patients with sporadic ACD/MPV and MCA. Custom-designed, high-resolution microarray analysis of additional ACD/MPV samples revealed one microdeletion harboring FOXF1 and two distinct microdeletions upstream of FOXF1, implicating a position effect. DNA sequence analysis revealed that in six of nine deletions, both breakpoints occurred in the portions of Alu elements showing eight to 43 base pairs of perfect microhomology, suggesting replication error Microhomology-Mediated Break-Induced Replication (MMBIR)/Fork Stalling and Template Switching (FoSTeS) as a mechanism of their formation. In contrast to the association of point mutations in FOXF1 with bowel malrotation, microdeletions of FOXF1 were associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and gastrointestinal atresias, probably due to haploinsufficiency for the neighboring FOXC2 and FOXL1 genes. These differences reveal the phenotypic consequences of gene alterations in cis.
doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.05.005
PMCID: PMC2694971  PMID: 19500772
7.  The rates of de novo meiotic deletions and duplications causing several genomic disorders in the male germline 
Nature genetics  2007;40(1):90-95.
Meiotic recombination between highly-similar duplicated sequences (non-allelic homologous recombination, NAHR) generates deletions, duplications, inversions, and translocations, and is responsible for genetic diseases known as ‘genomic disorders’, most of which are caused by altered copy number of dosage sensitive genes. NAHR Hotspots have been identified within some duplicated sequences. We have developed sperm-based assays to measure the de novo rate of reciprocal deletions and duplications at 4 NAHR hotspots. We used these assays to dissect the relative rates of NAHR between different pairs of duplicated sequences. We show that: (i) these NAHR hotspots are specific to meiosis, (ii) deletions are generated at a higher rate than their reciprocal duplications in the male germline and (iii) some of these genomic disorders are likely to have been under-ascertained clinically, most notably the duplication of 7q11, the reciprocal of the Williams-Beuren Syndrome deletion.
doi:10.1038/ng.2007.40
PMCID: PMC2669897  PMID: 18059269

Results 1-7 (7)