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1.  Conserved Role of Intragenic DNA Methylation in Regulating Alternative Promoters 
Nature  2010;466(7303):253-257.
While the methylation of DNA in 5′ promoters suppresses gene expression, the role of DNA methylation in gene bodies is unclear1–5. In mammals, tissue- and cell type-specific methylation is present in a small percentage of 5′ CpG island (CGI) promoters, while a far greater proportion occurs across gene bodies, coinciding with highly conserved sequences5–10. Tissue-specific intragenic methylation might reduce,3 or, paradoxically, enhance transcription elongation efficiency1,2,4,5. Capped analysis of gene expression (CAGE) experiments also indicate that transcription commonly initiates within and between genes11–15. To investigate the role of intragenic methylation, we generated a map of DNA methylation from human brain encompassing 24.7 million of the 28 million CpG sites. From the dense, high-resolution coverage of CpG islands, the majority of methylated CpG islands were revealed to be in intragenic and intergenic regions, while less than 3% of CpG islands in 5′ promoters were methylated. The CpG islands in all three locations overlapped with RNA markers of transcription initiation, and unmethylated CpG islands also overlapped significantly with trimethylation of H3K4, a histone modification enriched at promoters16. The general and CpG-island-specific patterns of methylation are conserved in mouse tissues. An in-depth investigation of the human SHANK3 locus17,18 and its mouse homologue demonstrated that this tissue-specific DNA methylation regulates intragenic promoter activity in vitro and in vivo. These methylation-regulated, alternative transcripts are expressed in a tissue and cell type-specific manner, and are expressed differentially within a single cell type from distinct brain regions. These results support a major role for intragenic methylation in regulating cell context-specific alternative promoters in gene bodies.
doi:10.1038/nature09165
PMCID: PMC3998662  PMID: 20613842
Intragenic DNA methylation; alternate promoters; comparative epigenomics; SHANK3
2.  Mutational Analysis Reveals the Origin and Therapy-driven Evolution of Recurrent Glioma 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;343(6167):189-193.
Tumor recurrence is a leading cause of cancer mortality. Therapies for recurrent disease may fail, at least in part, because the genomic alterations driving the growth of recurrences are distinct from those in the initial tumor. To explore this hypothesis, we sequenced the exomes of 23 initial low-grade gliomas and recurrent tumors resected from the same patients. In 43% of cases, at least half of the mutations in the initial tumor were undetected at recurrence, including driver mutations in TP53, ATRX, SMARCA4, and BRAF, suggesting recurrent tumors are often seeded by cells derived from the initial tumor at a very early stage of their evolution. Notably, tumors from 6 of 10 patients treated with the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide (TMZ) followed an alternative evolutionary path to high-grade glioma. At recurrence, these tumors were hypermutated and harbored driver mutations in the RB and AKT-mTOR pathways that bore the signature of TMZ-induced mutagenesis.
doi:10.1126/science.1239947
PMCID: PMC3998672  PMID: 24336570
3.  Analysis of the Genome and Transcriptome of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii Reveals Complex RNA Expression and Microevolution Leading to Virulence Attenuation 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(4):e1004261.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast responsible for more than 600,000 deaths each year. It occurs as two serotypes (A and D) representing two varieties (i.e. grubii and neoformans, respectively). Here, we sequenced the genome and performed an RNA-Seq-based analysis of the C. neoformans var. grubii transcriptome structure. We determined the chromosomal locations, analyzed the sequence/structural features of the centromeres, and identified origins of replication. The genome was annotated based on automated and manual curation. More than 40,000 introns populating more than 99% of the expressed genes were identified. Although most of these introns are located in the coding DNA sequences (CDS), over 2,000 introns in the untranslated regions (UTRs) were also identified. Poly(A)-containing reads were employed to locate the polyadenylation sites of more than 80% of the genes. Examination of the sequences around these sites revealed a new poly(A)-site-associated motif (AUGHAH). In addition, 1,197 miscRNAs were identified. These miscRNAs can be spliced and/or polyadenylated, but do not appear to have obvious coding capacities. Finally, this genome sequence enabled a comparative analysis of strain H99 variants obtained after laboratory passage. The spectrum of mutations identified provides insights into the genetics underlying the micro-evolution of a laboratory strain, and identifies mutations involved in stress responses, mating efficiency, and virulence.
Author Summary
Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is a major human pathogen responsible for deadly meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. Here, we report the sequencing and annotation of its genome. Evidence for extensive intron splicing, antisense transcription, non-coding RNAs, and alternative polyadenylation indicates the potential for highly intricate regulation of gene expression in this opportunistic pathogen. In addition, detailed molecular, genetic, and genomic studies were performed to characterize structural features of the genome, including centromeres and origins of replication. Finally, the phenotypic and genome re-sequencing analysis of a collection of isolates of the reference H99 strain resulting from laboratory passage revealed that microevolutionary processes during in vitro culturing of pathogenic fungi can impact virulence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004261
PMCID: PMC3990503  PMID: 24743168
4.  Subgroup Specific Alternative Splicing in Medulloblastoma 
Acta neuropathologica  2012;123(4):485-499.
Medulloblastoma is comprised of four distinct molecular variants: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. We analyzed alternative splicing usage in 14 normal cerebellar samples and 103 medulloblastomas of known subgroup. Medulloblastoma samples have a statistically significant increase in alternative splicing as compared to normal fetal cerebella (2.3-times; P<6.47E-8). Splicing patterns are distinct and specific between molecular subgroups. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of alternative splicing events accurately assigns medulloblastomas to their correct subgroup. Subgroup-specific splicing and alternative promoter usage was most prevalent in Group 3 (19.4%) and SHH (16.2%) medulloblastomas, while observed less frequently in WNT (3.2%), and Group 4 (9.3%) tumors. Functional annotation of alternatively spliced genes reveals over-representation of genes important for neuronal development. Alternative splicing events in medulloblastoma may be regulated in part by the correlative expression of antisense transcripts, suggesting a possible mechanism affecting subgroup specific alternative splicing. Our results identify additional candidate markers for medulloblastoma subgroup affiliation, further support the existence of distinct subgroups of the disease, and demonstrate an additional level of transcriptional heterogeneity between medulloblastoma subgroups.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-0959-7
PMCID: PMC3984840  PMID: 22358458
medulloblastoma; alternative splicing; neuronal development; molecular subgroup; pediatric cancer
5.  A pan-BCL2 inhibitor renders bone marrow resident human leukemia stem cells sensitive to tyrosine kinase inhibition 
Cell stem cell  2013;12(3):316-328.
Summary
Leukemia stem cells (LSC) play a pivotal role in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) resistance and progression to blast crisis (BC), in part, through alternative splicing of self-renewal and survival genes. To elucidate splice isoform regulators of human BC LSC maintenance, we performed whole transcriptome RNA sequencing; splice isoform-specific qRT-PCR, nanoproteomics, stromal co-culture and BC LSC xenotransplantation analyses. Cumulatively, these studies show that alternative splicing of multiple pro-survival BCL2 family genes promotes malignant transformation of myeloid progenitors into BC LSC that are quiescent in the marrow niche and contribute to therapeutic resistance. Notably, a novel pan-BCL2 inhibitor, sabutoclax, renders marrow niche-resident BC LSC sensitive to TKIs at doses that spare normal progenitors. These findings underscore the importance of alternative BCL2 family splice isoform expression in BC LSC maintenance and suggest that combinatorial inhibition of pro-survival BCL2 family proteins and BCR-ABL may eliminate dormant LSC and obviate resistance.
doi:10.1016/j.stem.2012.12.011
PMCID: PMC3968867  PMID: 23333150
6.  Cell of origin in AML: Susceptibility to MN1-induced transformation is regulated by the MEIS1/AbdB-like HOX protein complex 
Cancer cell  2011;20(1):39-52.
Summary
Pathways defining susceptibility of normal cells to oncogenic transformation may be valuable therapeutic targets. We characterized the cell of origin and its critical pathways in MN1-induced leukemias. Common myeloid (CMP), but not granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMP) could be transformed by MN1. Complementation studies of CMP-signature genes in GMPs demonstrated that MN1-leukemogenicity required the MEIS1/AbdB-like HOX-protein complex. ChIP-sequencing identified common target genes of MN1 and MEIS1, and demonstrated identical binding sites for a large proportion of their chromatin targets. Transcriptional repression of MEIS1 targets in established MN1 leukemias demonstrated antileukemic activity. As MN1 relies on but cannot activate expression of MEIS1/AbdB-like HOX proteins, transcriptional activity of these genes determines cellular susceptibility to MN1-induced transformation, and may represent a promising therapeutic target.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2011.06.020
PMCID: PMC3951989  PMID: 21741595 CAMSID: cams3759
7.  Aberrant patterns of H3K4 and H3K27 histone lysine methylation occur across subgroups in medulloblastoma 
Acta neuropathologica  2012;125(3):373-384.
Recent sequencing efforts have described the mutational landscape of the pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma. Although MLL2 is among the most frequent somatic single nucleotide variants (SNV), the clinical and biological significance of these mutations remains uncharacterized. Through targeted re-sequencing, we identified mutations of MLL2 in 8 % (14/175) of MBs, the majority of which were loss of function. Notably, we also report mutations affecting the MLL2-binding partner KDM6A, in 4 % (7/175) of tumors. While MLL2 mutations were independent of age, gender, histological subtype, M-stage or molecular subgroup, KDM6A mutations were most commonly identified in Group 4 MBs, and were mutually exclusive with MLL2 mutations. Immunohistochemical staining for H3K4me3 and H3K27me3, the chromatin effectors of MLL2 and KDM6A activity, respectively, demonstrated alterations of the histone code in 24 % (53/220) of MBs across all subgroups. Correlating these MLL2-and KDM6A-driven histone marks with prognosis, we identified populations of MB with improved (K4+/K27−) and dismal (K4−/K27−) outcomes, observed primarily within Group 3 and 4 MBs. Group 3 and 4 MBs demonstrate somatic copy number aberrations, and transcriptional profiles that converge on modifiers of H3K27-methylation (EZH2, KDM6A, KDM6B), leading to silencing of PRC2-target genes. As PRC2-mediated aberrant methylation of H3K27 has recently been targeted for therapy in other diseases, it represents an actionable target for a substantial percentage of medulloblastoma patients with aggressive forms of the disease.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1070-9
PMCID: PMC3580007  PMID: 23184418
MLL2; KDM6A; Histone lysine methylation; Medulloblastoma; PRC2
8.  MHC class II transactivator CIITA is a recurrent gene fusion partner in lymphoid cancers 
Nature  2011;471(7338):377-381.
Chromosomal translocations are critically involved in the molecular pathogenesis of B-cell lymphomas, and highly recurrent and specific rearrangements have defined distinct molecular subtypes linked to unique clinicopathological features1,2. In contrast, several well-characterized lymphoma entities still lack disease-defining translocation events. To identify novel fusion transcripts resulting from translocations, we investigated two Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines by whole-transcriptome paired-end sequencing (RNA-seq). Here we show a highly expressed gene fusion involving the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator CIITA (MHC2TA) in KM-H2 cells. In a subsequent evaluation of 263 B-cell lymphomas, we also demonstrate that genomic CIITA breaks are highly recurrent in primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (38%) and classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) (15%). Furthermore, we find that CIITA is a promiscuous partner of various in-frame gene fusions, and we report that CIITA gene alterations impact survival in primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL). As functional consequences of CIITA gene fusions, we identify downregulation of surface HLA class II expression and overexpression of ligands of the receptor molecule programmed cell death 1 (CD274/PDL1 and CD273/PDL2). These receptor–ligand interactions have been shown to impact anti-tumour immune responses in several cancers3, whereas decreased MHC class II expression has been linked to reduced tumour cell immunogenicity4. Thus, our findings suggest that recurrent rearrangements of CIITA may represent a novel genetic mechanism underlying tumour–microenvironment interactions across a spectrum of lymphoid cancers.
doi:10.1038/nature09754
PMCID: PMC3902849  PMID: 21368758
9.  DNA hypomethylation within specific transposable element families associates with tissue-specific enhancer landscape 
Nature genetics  2013;45(7):10.1038/ng.2649.
Introduction
Transposable element (TE) derived sequences comprise half of our genome and DNA methylome, and are presumed densely methylated and inactive. Examination of the genome-wide DNA methylation status within 928 TE subfamilies in human embryonic and adult tissues revealed unexpected tissue-specific and subfamily-specific hypomethylation signatures. Genes proximal to tissue-specific hypomethylated TE sequences were enriched for functions important for the tissue type and their expression correlated strongly with hypomethylation of the TEs. When hypomethylated, these TE sequences gained tissue-specific enhancer marks including H3K4me1 and occupancy by p300, and a majority exhibited enhancer activity in reporter gene assays. Many such TEs also harbored binding sites for transcription factors that are important for tissue-specific functions and exhibited evidence for evolutionary selection. These data suggest that sequences derived from TEs may be responsible for wiring tissue type-specific regulatory networks, and have acquired tissue-specific epigenetic regulation.
doi:10.1038/ng.2649
PMCID: PMC3695047  PMID: 23708189
10.  The clonal and mutational evolution spectrum of primary triple negative breast cancers 
Nature  2012;486(7403):10.1038/nature10933.
Primary triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) represent approximately 16% of all breast cancers1 and are a tumour type defined by exclusion, for which comprehensive landscapes of somatic mutation have not been determined. Here we show in 104 early TNBC cases, that at the time of diagnosis these cancers exhibit a wide and continuous spectrum of genomic evolution, with some exhibiting only a handful of somatic aberrations in a few pathways, whereas others contain hundreds of somatic events and multiple pathways implicated. Integration with matched whole transcriptome sequence data revealed that only ~36% of mutations are expressed. By examining single nucleotide variant (SNV) allelic abundance derived from deep re-sequencing (median >20,000 fold) measurements in 2414 somatic mutations, we determine for the first time in an epithelial tumour, the relative abundance of clonal genotypes among cases in the population. We show that TNBC vary widely and continuously in their clonal frequencies at the time of diagnosis, with basal subtype TNBC2,3 exhibiting more variation than non-basal TNBC. Although p53 and PIK3CA/PTEN somatic mutations appear clonally dominant compared with other pathways, in some tumours their clonal frequencies are incompatible with founder status. Mutations in cytoskeletal and cell shape/motility proteins occurred at lower clonal frequencies, suggesting they occurred later during tumour progression. Taken together our results show that future attempts to dissect the biology and therapeutic responses of TNBC will require the determination of individual tumour clonal genotypes.
doi:10.1038/nature10933
PMCID: PMC3863681  PMID: 22495314
11.  Genomic testing to determine drug response: measuring preferences of the public and patients using Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) 
Background
The extent to which a genomic test will be used in practice is affected by factors such as ability of the test to correctly predict response to treatment (i.e. sensitivity and specificity of the test), invasiveness of the testing procedure, test cost, and the probability and severity of side effects associated with treatment.
Methods
Using discrete choice experimentation (DCE), we elicited preferences of the public (Sample 1, N = 533 and Sample 2, N = 525) and cancer patients (Sample 3, N = 38) for different attributes of a hypothetical genomic test for guiding cancer treatment. Samples 1 and 3 considered the test/treatment in the context of an aggressive curable cancer (scenario A) while the scenario for sample 2 was based on a non-aggressive incurable cancer (scenario B).
Results
In aggressive curable cancer (scenario A), everything else being equal, the odds ratio (OR) of choosing a test with 95% sensitivity was 1.41 (versus a test with 50% sensitivity) and willingness to pay (WTP) was $1331, on average, for this amount of improvement in test sensitivity. In this scenario, the OR of choosing a test with 95% specificity was 1.24 times that of a test with 50% specificity (WTP = $827). In non-aggressive incurable cancer (scenario B), the OR of choosing a test with 95% sensitivity was 1.65 (WTP = $1344), and the OR of choosing a test with 95% specificity was 1.50 (WTP = $1080). Reducing severity of treatment side effects from severe to mild was associated with large ORs in both scenarios (OR = 2.10 and 2.24 in scenario A and B, respectively). In contrast, patients had a very large preference for 95% sensitivity of the test (OR = 5.23).
Conclusion
The type and prognosis of cancer affected preferences for genomically-guided treatment. In aggressive curable cancer, individuals emphasized more on the sensitivity rather than the specificity of the test. In contrast, for a non-aggressive incurable cancer, individuals put similar emphasis on sensitivity and specificity of the test. While the public expressed strong preference toward lowering severity of side effects, improving sensitivity of the test had by far the largest influence on patients’ decision to use genomic testing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-454
PMCID: PMC3827922  PMID: 24176050
Pharmacogenomics; Genomic medicine; Personalized medicine; Genetic testing; Discrete choice experiment; Conjoint analysis; Preference elicitation; Cancer treatment
12.  Integrated genome and transcriptome sequencing identifies a novel form of hybrid and aggressive prostate cancer† 
The Journal of pathology  2012;227(1):53-61.
Next-generation sequencing is making sequence-based molecular pathology and personalized oncology viable. We selected an individual initially diagnosed with conventional but aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma and sequenced the genome and transcriptome from primary and metastatic tissues collected prior to hormone therapy. The histology-pathology and copy number profiles were remarkably homogeneous, yet it was possible to propose the quadrant of the prostate tumour that likely seeded the metastatic diaspora. Despite a homogeneous cell type, our transcriptome analysis revealed signatures of both luminal and neuroendocrine cell types. Remarkably, the repertoire of expressed but apparently private gene fusions, including C15orf21:MYC, recapitulated this biology. We hypothesize that the amplification and over-expression of the stem cell gene MSI2 may have contributed to the stable hybrid cellular identity. This hybrid luminal-neuroendocrine tumour appears to represent a novel and highly aggressive case of prostate cancer with unique biological features and, conceivably, a propensity for rapid progression to castrate-resistance. Overall, this work highlights the importance of integrated analyses of genome, exome and transcriptome sequences for basic tumour biology, sequence-based molecular pathology and personalized oncology.
doi:10.1002/path.3987
PMCID: PMC3768138  PMID: 22294438
RNA sequencing; DNA sequencing; prostate cancer; fusion genes; neuroendocrine; personalized medicine; cancer genetics
13.  The genetic landscape of high-risk neuroblastoma 
Nature genetics  2013;45(3):279-284.
Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of the developing sympathetic nervous system that often presents with widespread metastatic disease, resulting in survival rates of less than 50%1. To determine the spectrum of somatic mutation in high-risk neuroblastoma, we studied 240 cases using a combination of whole exome, genome and transcriptome sequencing as part of the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) initiative. Here we report a low median exonic mutation frequency of 0.60 per megabase (0.48 non-silent), and remarkably few recurrently mutated genes in these tumors. Genes with significant somatic mutation frequencies included ALK (9.2% of cases), PTPN11 (2.9%), ATRX (2.5%, an additional 7.1% had focal deletions), MYCN (1.7%, a recurrent p.Pro44Leu alteration), and NRAS (0.83%). Rare, potentially pathogenic germline variants were significantly enriched in ALK, CHEK2, PINK1, and BARD1. The relative paucity of recurrent somatic mutations in neuroblastoma challenges current therapeutic strategies reliant upon frequently altered oncogenic drivers.
doi:10.1038/ng.2529
PMCID: PMC3682833  PMID: 23334666
14.  Genetic alterations activating kinase and cytokine receptor signaling in high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia 
Cancer cell  2012;22(2):153-166.
SUMMARY
Genomic profiling has identified a subtype of high-risk B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) with alteration of IKZF1, a gene expression profile similar to BCR-ABL1-positive ALL and poor outcome (Ph-like ALL). The genetic alterations that activate kinase signaling in Ph-like ALL are poorly understood. We performed transcriptome and whole genome sequencing on 15 cases of Ph-like ALL, and identified rearrangements involving ABL1, JAK2, PDGFRB, CRLF2 and EPOR, activating mutations of IL7R and FLT3, and deletion of SH2B3, which encodes the JAK2 negative regulator LNK. Importantly, several of these alterations induce transformation that is attenuated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, suggesting the treatment outcome of these patients may be improved with targeted therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2012.06.005
PMCID: PMC3422513  PMID: 22897847
15.  BreakFusion: targeted assembly-based identification of gene fusions in whole transcriptome paired-end sequencing data 
Bioinformatics  2012;28(14):1923-1924.
Summary: Despite recent progress, computational tools that identify gene fusions from next-generation whole transcriptome sequencing data are often limited in accuracy and scalability. Here, we present a software package, BreakFusion that combines the strength of reference alignment followed by read-pair analysis and de novo assembly to achieve a good balance in sensitivity, specificity and computational efficiency.
Availability: http://bioinformatics.mdanderson.org/main/BreakFusion
Contact: kchen3@mdanderson.org; lding@genome.wustl.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/bts272
PMCID: PMC3389765  PMID: 22563071
16.  Next Generation Sequencing of Prostate Cancer from a Patient Identifies a Deficiency of Methylthioadenosine Phosphorylase (MTAP), an Exploitable Tumor Target 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2012;11(3):775-783.
Castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and neuroendocrine carcinoma of the prostate are invariably fatal diseases for which only palliative therapies exist. As part of a prostate tumour sequencing program, a patient tumour was analyzed using Illumina genome sequencing and a matched renal capsule tumour xenograft was generated. Both tumour and xenograft had a homozygous 9p21 deletion spanning the MTAP, CDKN2 and ARF genes. It is rare for this deletion to occur in primary prostate tumours yet approximately 10% express decreased levels of MTAP mRNA. Decreased MTAP expression is a prognosticator for poor outcome. Moreover, it appears that this deletion is more common in CRPC than in primary prostate cancer. We show for the first time that treatment with methylthioadenosine and high dose 6-thioguanine causes marked inhibition of a patient derived neuroendocrine xenograft growth while protecting the host from 6-thioguanine toxicity. This therapeutic approach can be applied to other MTAP-deficient human cancers since deletion or hypermethylation of the MTAP gene occurs in a broad spectrum of tumours at high frequency. The combination of genome sequencing and patient-derived xenografts can identify candidate therapeutic agents and evaluate them for personalized oncology.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0826
PMCID: PMC3691697  PMID: 22252602
massively parallel sequencing; MTAP; patient-derived xenograft; genitourinary cancers: prostate; animal models of cancer; gene expression profiling; functional genomics; xenograft models
17.  Subgroup specific structural variation across 1,000 medulloblastoma genomes 
Northcott, Paul A | Shih, David JH | Peacock, John | Garzia, Livia | Morrissy, Sorana | Zichner, Thomas | Stütz, Adrian M | Korshunov, Andrey | Reimand, Juri | Schumacher, Steven E | Beroukhim, Rameen | Ellison, David W | Marshall, Christian R | Lionel, Anath C | Mack, Stephen | Dubuc, Adrian | Yao, Yuan | Ramaswamy, Vijay | Luu, Betty | Rolider, Adi | Cavalli, Florence | Wang, Xin | Remke, Marc | Wu, Xiaochong | Chiu, Readman YB | Chu, Andy | Chuah, Eric | Corbett, Richard D | Hoad, Gemma R | Jackman, Shaun D | Li, Yisu | Lo, Allan | Mungall, Karen L | Nip, Ka Ming | Qian, Jenny Q | Raymond, Anthony GJ | Thiessen, Nina | Varhol, Richard J | Birol, Inanc | Moore, Richard A | Mungall, Andrew J | Holt, Robert | Kawauchi, Daisuke | Roussel, Martine F | Kool, Marcel | Jones, David TW | Witt, Hendrick | Fernandez-L, Africa | Kenney, Anna M | Wechsler-Reya, Robert J | Dirks, Peter | Aviv, Tzvi | Grajkowska, Wieslawa A | Perek-Polnik, Marta | Haberler, Christine C | Delattre, Olivier | Reynaud, Stéphanie S | Doz, François F | Pernet-Fattet, Sarah S | Cho, Byung-Kyu | Kim, Seung-Ki | Wang, Kyu-Chang | Scheurlen, Wolfram | Eberhart, Charles G | Fèvre-Montange, Michelle | Jouvet, Anne | Pollack, Ian F | Fan, Xing | Muraszko, Karin M | Gillespie, G. Yancey | Di Rocco, Concezio | Massimi, Luca | Michiels, Erna MC | Kloosterhof, Nanne K | French, Pim J | Kros, Johan M | Olson, James M | Ellenbogen, Richard G | Zitterbart, Karel | Kren, Leos | Thompson, Reid C | Cooper, Michael K | Lach, Boleslaw | McLendon, Roger E | Bigner, Darell D | Fontebasso, Adam | Albrecht, Steffen | Jabado, Nada | Lindsey, Janet C | Bailey, Simon | Gupta, Nalin | Weiss, William A | Bognár, László | Klekner, Almos | Van Meter, Timothy E | Kumabe, Toshihiro | Tominaga, Teiji | Elbabaa, Samer K | Leonard, Jeffrey R | Rubin, Joshua B | Liau, Linda M | Van Meir, Erwin G | Fouladi, Maryam | Nakamura, Hideo | Cinalli, Giuseppe | Garami, Miklós | Hauser, Peter | Saad, Ali G | Iolascon, Achille | Jung, Shin | Carlotti, Carlos G | Vibhakar, Rajeev | Ra, Young Shin | Robinson, Shenandoah | Zollo, Massimo | Faria, Claudia C | Chan, Jennifer A | Levy, Michael L | Sorensen, Poul HB | Meyerson, Matthew | Pomeroy, Scott L | Cho, Yoon-Jae | Bader, Gary D | Tabori, Uri | Hawkins, Cynthia E | Bouffet, Eric | Scherer, Stephen W | Rutka, James T | Malkin, David | Clifford, Steven C | Jones, Steven JM | Korbel, Jan O | Pfister, Stefan M | Marra, Marco A | Taylor, Michael D
Nature  2012;488(7409):49-56.
Summary
Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumour, is currently treated with non-specific cytotoxic therapies including surgery, whole brain radiation, and aggressive chemotherapy. As medulloblastoma exhibits marked intertumoural heterogeneity, with at least four distinct molecular variants, prior attempts to identify targets for therapy have been underpowered due to small samples sizes. Here we report somatic copy number aberrations (SCNAs) in 1087 unique medulloblastomas. SCNAs are common in medulloblastoma, and are predominantly subgroup enriched. The most common region of focal copy number gain is a tandem duplication of the Parkinson’s disease gene SNCAIP, which is exquisitely restricted to Group 4α. Recurrent translocations of PVT1, including PVT1-MYC and PVT1-NDRG1 that arise through chromothripsis are restricted to Group 3. Numerous targetable SCNAs, including recurrent events targeting TGFβ signaling in Group 3, and NF-κB signaling in Group 4 suggest future avenues for rational, targeted therapy.
doi:10.1038/nature11327
PMCID: PMC3683624  PMID: 22832581
18.  Penetrance of biallelic SMARCAL1 mutations is associated with environmental and genetic disturbances of gene expression 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(11):2572-2587.
Biallelic mutations of the DNA annealing helicase SMARCAL1 (SWI/SNF-related, matrix-associated, actin-dependent regulator of chromatin, subfamily a-like 1) cause Schimke immuno-osseous dysplasia (SIOD, MIM 242900), an incompletely penetrant autosomal recessive disorder. Using human, Drosophila and mouse models, we show that the proteins encoded by SMARCAL1 orthologs localize to transcriptionally active chromatin and modulate gene expression. We also show that, as found in SIOD patients, deficiency of the SMARCAL1 orthologs alone is insufficient to cause disease in fruit flies and mice, although such deficiency causes modest diffuse alterations in gene expression. Rather, disease manifests when SMARCAL1 deficiency interacts with genetic and environmental factors that further alter gene expression. We conclude that the SMARCAL1 annealing helicase buffers fluctuations in gene expression and that alterations in gene expression contribute to the penetrance of SIOD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds083
PMCID: PMC3349428  PMID: 22378147
19.  From sequence to molecular pathology, and a mechanism driving the neuroendocrine phenotype in prostate cancer 
The Journal of pathology  2012;227(3):286-297.
The current paradigm of cancer care relies on predictive nomograms which integrate detailed histopathology with clinical data. However, when predictions fail, the consequences for patients are often catastrophic, especially in prostate cancer where nomograms influence the decision to therapeutically intervene. We hypothesized that the high dimensional data afforded by massively parallel sequencing (MPS) is not only capable of providing biological insights, but may aid molecular pathology of prostate tumours. We assembled a cohort of six patients with high-risk disease, and performed deep RNA and shallow DNA sequencing in primary tumours and matched metastases where available. Our analysis identified copy number abnormalities, accurately profiled gene expression levels, and detected both differential splicing and expressed fusion genes. We revealed occult and potentially dormant metastases, unambiguously supporting the patients’ clinical history, and implicated the REST transcriptional complex in the development of neuroendocrine prostate cancer, validating this finding in a large independent cohort. We massively expand on the number of novel fusion genes described in prostate cancer; provide fresh evidence for the growing link between fusion gene aetiology and gene expression profiles; and show the utility of fusion genes for molecular pathology. Finally, we identified chromothripsis in a patient with chronic prostatitis. Our results provide a strong foundation for further development of MPS-based molecular pathology.
doi:10.1002/path.4047
PMCID: PMC3659819  PMID: 22553170
molecular pathology; massively parallel sequencing; neuroendocrine prostate cancer; REST repressor; chromothripsis
20.  Interaction of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 12/CrkRS with Cyclin K1 Is Required for the Phosphorylation of the C-Terminal Domain of RNA Polymerase II 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(22):4691-4704.
CrkRS (Cdc2-related kinase, Arg/Ser), or cyclin-dependent kinase 12 (CKD12), is a serine/threonine kinase believed to coordinate transcription and RNA splicing. While CDK12/CrkRS complexes were known to phosphorylate the C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II), the cyclin regulating this activity was not known. Using immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, we identified a 65-kDa isoform of cyclin K (cyclin K1) in endogenous CDK12/CrkRS protein complexes. We show that cyclin K1 complexes isolated from mammalian cells contain CDK12/CrkRS but do not contain CDK9, a presumed partner of cyclin K. Analysis of extensive RNA-Seq data shows that the 65-kDa cyclin K1 isoform is the predominantly expressed form across numerous tissue types. We also demonstrate that CDK12/CrkRS is dependent on cyclin K1 for its kinase activity and that small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of CDK12/CrkRS or cyclin K1 has similar effects on the expression of a luciferase reporter gene. Our data suggest that cyclin K1 is the primary cyclin partner for CDK12/CrkRS and that cyclin K1 is required to activate CDK12/CrkRS to phosphorylate the CTD of RNA Pol II. These properties are consistent with a role of CDK12/CrkRS in regulating gene expression through phosphorylation of RNA Pol II.
doi:10.1128/MCB.06267-11
PMCID: PMC3486194  PMID: 22988298
22.  Cell culture and Drosophila model systems define three classes of anaplastic lymphoma kinase mutations in neuroblastoma 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2012;6(2):373-382.
SUMMARY
Neuroblastoma is a childhood extracranial solid tumour that is associated with a number of genetic changes. Included in these genetic alterations are mutations in the kinase domain of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), which have been found in both somatic and familial neuroblastoma. In order to treat patients accordingly requires characterisation of these mutations in terms of their response to ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Here, we report the identification and characterisation of two novel neuroblastoma ALK mutations (A1099T and R1464STOP), which we have investigated together with several previously reported but uncharacterised ALK mutations (T1087I, D1091N, T1151M, M1166R, F1174I and A1234T). In order to understand the potential role of these ALK mutations in neuroblastoma progression, we have employed cell culture-based systems together with the model organism Drosophila as a readout for ligand-independent activity. Mutation of ALK at position 1174 (F1174I) generates a gain-of-function receptor capable of activating intracellular targets such as ERK (extracellular signal regulated kinase) and STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) in a ligand-independent manner. Analysis of these previously uncharacterised ALK mutants and comparison with ALKF1174 mutants suggests that ALK mutations observed in neuroblastoma fall into three classes. These classes are: (i) gain-of-function ligand-independent mutations such as ALKF1174l, (ii) kinase-dead ALK mutants, e.g. ALKI1250T (Schönherr et al., 2011a) and (iii) ALK mutations that are ligand-dependent in nature. Irrespective of the nature of the observed ALK mutants, in every case the activity of the mutant ALK receptors could be abrogated by the ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori/PF-02341066), albeit with differing levels of sensitivity.
doi:10.1242/dmm.010348
PMCID: PMC3597019  PMID: 23104988
23.  Concurrent CIC mutations, IDH mutations and 1p/19q loss distinguish oligodendrogliomas from other cancers 
The Journal of pathology  2011;226(1):7-16.
Oligodendroglioma is characterized by unique clinical, pathological, and genetic features. Recurrent losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q are strongly associated with this brain cancer but knowledge of the identity and function of the genes affected by these alterations is limited. We performed exome sequencing on a discovery set of 16 oligodendrogliomas with 1p/19q co-deletion to identify new molecular features at base-pair resolution. As anticipated, there was a high rate of IDH mutations: all cases had mutations in either IDH1 (14/16) or IDH2 (2/16). In addition, we discovered somatic mutations and insertions/deletions in the CIC gene on chromosome 19q13.2 in 13/16 tumours. These discovery set mutations were validated by deep sequencing of 13 additional tumours, which revealed 7 others with CIC mutations, thus bringing the overall mutation rate in oligodendrogliomas in this study to 20/29 (69%). In contrast, deep sequencing of astrocytomas and oligoastrocytomas without 1p/19q loss revealed that CIC alterations were otherwise rare (1/60; 2%). Of the 21 non-synonymous somatic mutations in 20 CIC-mutant oligodendrogliomas, 9 were in exon 5 within an annotated DNA interacting domain and 3 were in exon 20 within an annotated protein interacting domain. The remaining 9 were found in other exons and frequently included truncations. CIC mutations were highly associated with oligodendroglioma histology, 1p/19q co-deletion and IDH1/2 mutation (p<0.001). Although we observed no differences in the clinical outcomes of CIC mutant versus wild-type tumors, in a background of 1p/19q co-deletion, hemizygous CIC mutations are likely important. We hypothesize that the mutant CIC on the single retained 19q allele is linked to the pathogenesis of oligodendrogliomas with IDH mutation. Our detailed study of genetic aberrations in oligodendroglioma suggests a functional interaction between CIC mutation, IDH1/2 mutation and 1p/19q co-deletion.
doi:10.1002/path.2995
PMCID: PMC3246739  PMID: 22072542
Glioma; Oligodendroglioma; Next Generation Sequencing; Capicua; IDH1
24.  The Genome of the Basidiomycetous Yeast and Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2005;307(5713):1321-1324.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycetous yeast ubiquitous in the environment, a model for fungal pathogenesis, and an opportunistic human pathogen of global importance. We have sequenced its ~20-megabase genome, which contains ~6500 intron-rich gene structures and encodes a transcriptome abundant in alternatively spliced and antisense messages. The genome is rich in transposons, many of which cluster at candidate centromeric regions. The presence of these transposons may drive karyotype instability and phenotypic variation. C. neoformans encodes unique genes that may contribute to its unusual virulence properties, and comparison of two phenotypically distinct strains reveals variation in gene content in addition to sequence polymorphisms between the genomes.
doi:10.1126/science.1103773
PMCID: PMC3520129  PMID: 15653466
25.  Recurrent targets of aberrant somatic hypermutation in lymphoma 
Oncotarget  2012;3(11):1308-1319.
Somatic hypermutation (SHM) in the variable region of immunoglobulin genes (IGV) naturally occurs in a narrow window of B cell development to provide high-affinity antibodies. However, SHM can also aberrantly target proto-oncogenes and cause genome instability. The role of aberrant SHM (aSHM) has been widely studied in various non-Hodgkin's lymphoma particularly in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Although, it has been speculated that aSHM targets a wide range of genome loci so far only twelve genes have been identified as targets of aSHM through the targeted sequencing of selected genes. A genome-wide study aiming at identifying a comprehensive set of aSHM targets recurrently occurring in DLBCL has not been previously undertaken. Here, we present a comprehensive assessment of the somatic hypermutated genes in DLBCL identified through an analysis of genomic and transcriptome data derived from 40 DLBCL patients. Our analysis verifies that there are indeed many genes that are recurrently affected by aSHM. In particular, we have identified 32 novel targets that show same or higher level of aSHM activity than genes previously reported. Amongst these novel targets, 22 genes showed a significant correlation between mRNA abundance and aSHM.
PMCID: PMC3717795  PMID: 23131835
Aberrant somatic hypermutation; Genome wide study; Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Genomic rearrangements

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