Kathrin Bengesser

Universität Ulm, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (10)54.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 5% of all patients with neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1) exhibit large deletions of the NF1 gene region. To date, only 9 unrelated cases of large NF1 duplications have been reported, with none of the affected patients exhibiting multiple café au lait spots (CALS), Lisch nodules, freckling or neurofibromas, the hallmark signs of NF1. Here, we have characterized two novel NF1 duplications, one sporadic and one familial. Both index patients with NF1 duplications exhibited learning disabilities and atypical CALS. Additionally, patient R609021 had Lisch nodules whereas patient R653070 exhibited two inguinal freckles. The mother and sister of patient R609021 also harboured the NF1 duplication and exhibited cognitive dysfunction but no CALS. The breakpoints of the 9 NF1 duplications reported previously have not been identified and hence their underlying generative mechanisms have remained unclear. In this study, we performed high resolution breakpoint analysis which indicated that the two duplications studied were mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) and that the duplication breakpoints were located within the NAHR hotspot PRS2, which also harbours the type-1 NF1 deletion breakpoints. Hence, our study indicates for the first time that NF1 duplications are reciprocal to type-1 NF1 deletions and originate from the same NAHR events.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
    Human Mutation 12/2014; 35(12). DOI:10.1002/humu.22692 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Genomic disorders are caused by copy number changes that may exhibit recurrent breakpoints processed by nonallelic homologous recombination. However, region-specific disease-associated copy number changes have also been observed which exhibit non-recurrent breakpoints. The mechanisms underlying these non-recurrent copy number changes have not yet been fully elucidated. Results We analyze large NF1 deletions with non-recurrent breakpoints as a model to investigate the full spectrum of causative mechanisms, and observe that they are mediated by various DNA double strand break repair mechanisms, as well as aberrant replication. Further, two of the 17 NF1 deletions with non-recurrent breakpoints, identified in unrelated patients, occur in association with the concomitant insertion of SINE/variable number of tandem repeats/Alu (SVA) retrotransposons at the deletion breakpoints. The respective breakpoints are refractory to analysis by standard breakpoint-spanning PCRs and are only identified by means of optimized PCR protocols designed to amplify across GC-rich sequences. The SVA elements are integrated within SUZ12P intron 8 in both patients, and were mediated by target-primed reverse transcription of SVA mRNA intermediates derived from retrotranspositionally active source elements. Both SVA insertions occurred during early postzygotic development and are uniquely associated with large deletions of 1 Mb and 867 kb, respectively, at the insertion sites. Conclusions Since active SVA elements are abundant in the human genome and the retrotranspositional activity of many SVA source elements is high, SVA insertion-associated large genomic deletions encompassing many hundreds of kilobases could constitute a novel and as yet under-appreciated mechanism underlying large-scale copy number changes in the human genome.
    Genome Biology 06/2014; 15(6):R80. DOI:10.1186/gb-2014-15-6-r80 · 10.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Large NF1 deletions are mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR). An in-depth analysis of gene conversion operating in the breakpoint-flanking regions of large NF1 deletions was performed to investigate whether the rate of discontinuous gene conversion during NAHR with crossover is increased, as has been previously noted in NAHR-mediated rearrangements. All 20 germline type-1 NF1 deletions analysed were mediated by NAHR associated with continuous gene conversion within the breakpoint-flanking regions. Continuous gene conversion was also observed in 31/32 type-2 NF1 deletions investigated. In contrast to the meiotic type-1 NF1 deletions, type-2 NF1 deletions are predominantly of post-zygotic origin. Our findings therefore imply that the mitotic as well as the meiotic NAHR intermediates of large NF1 deletions are processed by long-patch mismatch repair (MMR), thereby ensuring gene conversion tract continuity instead of the discontinuous gene conversion that is characteristic of short-patch repair. However, the single type-2 NF1 deletion not exhibiting continuous gene conversion was processed without MMR, yielding two different deletion-bearing chromosomes which were distinguishable in terms of their breakpoint positions. Our findings indicate that MMR failure during NAHR, followed by post-meiotic/mitotic segregation, has the potential to give rise to somatic mosaicism in human genomic rearrangements by generating breakpoint heterogeneity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Human Mutation 02/2014; 35(2). DOI:10.1002/humu.22473 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonallelic homologous gene conversion (NAHGC) resulting from interparalog recombination without crossover represents an important influence on the evolution of duplicated sequences in the human genome. In 17q11.2, different paralogous sequences mediate large NF1 deletions by nonallelic homologous recombination with crossover (NAHR). Among these paralogs are SUZ12 and its pseudogene SUZ12P which harbour the breakpoints of type-2 (1.2-Mb) NF1 deletions. Such deletions are caused predominantly by mitotic NAHR since somatic mosaicism with normal cells is evident in most patients. Investigating whether SUZ12 and SUZ12P have also been involved in NAHGC, we observed gene conversion tracts between these paralogs in both Africans (AFR) and Europeans (EUR). Since germline type-2 NF1 deletions resulting from meiotic NAHR are very rare, the vast majority of the gene conversion tracts in SUZ12 and SUZ12P are likely to have resulted from mitotic recombination during premeiotic cell divisions of germ cells. A higher number of gene conversion tracts were noted within SUZ12 and SUZ12P in AFR as compared to EUR. Further, the distinctive signature of NAHGC (a high number of SNPs per paralog and a high number of shared SNPs between paralogs), a characteristic of many actively recombining paralogs, was observed in both SUZ12 and SUZ12P but only in AFR and not in EUR. A novel polymorphic 2.3-kb deletion in SUZ12P was identified which exhibited a high allele frequency in EUR. We postulate that this interparalog structural difference, together with low allelic recombination rates, could have caused a reduction in NAHGC between SUZ12 and SUZ12P during human evolution.
    Human Genetics 01/2014; 133(4). DOI:10.1007/s00439-013-1410-4 · 4.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) is one of the major mechanisms underlying copy number variation in the human genome. Although several disease-associated meiotic NAHR breakpoints have been analyzed in great detail, hotspots for mitotic NAHR are not well characterized. Type-2 NF1 microdeletions, which are predominantly of postzygotic origin, constitute a highly informative model with which to investigate the features of mitotic NAHR. Here, a custom-designed MLPA- and PCR-based approach was used to identify 23 novel NAHR-mediated type-2 NF1 deletions. Breakpoint analysis of these 23 type-2 deletions, together with 17 NAHR-mediated type-2 deletions identified previously, revealed that the breakpoints are nonuniformly distributed within the paralogous SUZ12 and SUZ12P sequences. Further, the analysis of this large group of type-2 deletions revealed breakpoint recurrence within short segments (ranging in size from 57 to 253-bp) as well as the existence of a novel NAHR hotspot of 1.9-kb (termed PRS4). This hotspot harbored 20% (8/40) of the type-2 deletion breakpoints and contains the 253-bp recurrent breakpoint region BR6 in which four independent type-2 deletion breakpoints were identified. Our findings indicate that a combination of an open chromatin conformation and short non-B DNA-forming repeats may predispose to recurrent mitotic NAHR events between SUZ12 and its pseudogene. Hum Mutat 33:1599-1609, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Mutation 11/2012; 33(11):1599-609. DOI:10.1002/humu.22171 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is a frequent tumor suppressor gene disorder characterized by multiple benign tumors and high risk of malignancy. Internal tumor burden is a major disease-associated manifestation and can be most adequately assessed by magnetic resonance imaging of the whole body. Approximately 5% of NF1 patients have constitutional large NF1-deletions that are generally associated with more severe clinical manifestations. Here, we investigated whether these deletion patients also have more and/or larger internal tumors by assessing internal tumors and their total volume (exclusive of cutaneous and subcutaneous) in 38 NF1 deletion patients (including eight mosaic cases) and 114 age- and gender-matched NF1 patients without deletions. The incidence of internal tumors was significantly lower in mosaic deletion patients (1/8 = 13%) but did not differ between the 30 nonmosaic deletion patients and the 90 age- and gender-matched NF1 patients without large deletions used as controls. Neither the number nor the total volume of tumors per patient differed significantly between the latter two groups. However, extremely high tumor burden (>3,000 ml) was significantly more frequent among nonmosaic NF1 deletion patients than among NF1 patients without large deletions (13% vs. 1%, P = 0.014). Thus, as a group, patients with NF1 deletions do not exhibit a significantly higher internal tumor burden than NF1 patients without such deletions. However, deletion patients can frequently have extremely large internal tumors and thus demand special attention.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 05/2012; 51(5):447-51. DOI:10.1002/gcc.21931 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) is the major mechanism underlying recurrent genomic rearrangements, including the large deletions at 17q11.2 that cause neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Here, we identify a novel NAHR hotspot, responsible for type-3 NF1 deletions that span 1.0 Mb. Breakpoint clustering within this 1-kb hotspot, termed PRS3, was noted in 10 of 11 known type-3 NF1 deletions. PRS3 is located within the LRRC37B pseudogene of the NF1-REPb and NF1-REPc low-copy repeats. In contrast to other previously characterized NAHR hotspots, PRS3 has not developed on a preexisting allelic homologous recombination hotspot. Furthermore, the variation pattern of PRS3 and its flanking regions is unusual since only NF1-REPc (and not NF1-REPb) is characterized by a high single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) frequency, suggestive of unidirectional sequence transfer via nonallelic homologous gene conversion (NAHGC). By contrast, the previously described intense NAHR hotspots within the CMT1A-REPs, and the PRS1 and PRS2 hotspots underlying type-1 NF1 deletions, experience frequent bidirectional sequence transfer. PRS3 within NF1-REPc was also found to be involved in NAHGC with the LRRC37B gene, the progenitor locus of the LRRC37B-P duplicons, as indicated by the presence of shared SNPs between these loci. PRS3 therefore represents a weak (and probably evolutionarily rather young) NAHR hotspot with unique properties.
    Human Mutation 02/2012; 33(2):372-83. DOI:10.1002/humu.21644 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) is one of the major mechanisms underlying copy number variation in the human genome. Although several disease‐associated meiotic NAHR breakpoints have been analyzed in great detail, hotspots for mitotic NAHR are not well characterized. Type‐2 NF1 microdeletions, which are predominantly of postzygotic origin, constitute a highly informative model with which to investigate the features of mitotic NAHR. Here, a custom‐designed MLPA‐ and PCR‐based approach was used to identify 23 novel NAHR‐mediated type‐2 NF1 deletions. Breakpoint analysis of these 23 type‐2 deletions, together with 17 NAHR‐mediated type‐2 deletions identified previously, revealed that the breakpoints are nonuniformly distributed within the paralogous SUZ12 and SUZ12P sequences. Further, the analysis of this large group of type‐2 deletions revealed breakpoint recurrence within short segments (ranging in size from 57 to 253‐bp) as well as the existence of a novel NAHR hotspot of 1.9‐kb (termed PRS4). This hotspot harbored 20% (8/40) of the type‐2 deletion breakpoints and contains the 253‐bp recurrent breakpoint region BR6 in which four independent type‐2 deletion breakpoints were identified. Our findings indicate that a combination of an open chromatin conformation and short non‐B DNA‐forming repeats may predispose to recurrent mitotic NAHR events between SUZ12 and its pseudogene. Hum Mutat 33:1599–1609, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Mutation 01/2012; 33(11). · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mosaicism is an important feature of type-1 neurofibromatosis (NF1) on account of its impact upon both clinical manifestations and transmission risk. Using FISH and MLPA to screen 3500 NF1 patients, we identified 146 individuals harboring gross NF1 deletions, 14 of whom (9.6%) displayed somatic mosaicism. The high rate of mosaicism in patients with NF1 deletions supports the postulated idea of a direct relationship between the high new mutation rate in this cancer predisposition syndrome and the frequency of mosaicism. Seven of the 14 mosaic NF1 deletions were type-2, whereas four were putatively type-1, and three were atypical. Two of the four probable type-1 deletions were confirmed as such by breakpoint-spanning PCR or SNP analysis. Both deletions were associated with a generalized manifestation of NF1. Independently, we identified a third patient with a mosaic type-1 NF1 deletion who exhibited segmental NF1. Together, these three cases constitute the first proven mosaic type-1 deletions so far reported. In two of these three mosaic type-1 deletions, the breakpoints were located within PRS1 and PRS2, previously identified as hotspots for nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) during meiosis. Hence, NAHR within PRS1 and PRS2 is not confined to meiosis but may also occur during postzygotic mitotic cell cycles.
    Human Mutation 02/2011; 32(2):213-9. DOI:10.1002/humu.21418 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Large microdeletions encompassing the neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1) gene and its flanking regions at 17q11.2 belong to the group of genomic disorders caused by aberrant recombination between segmental duplications. The most common NF1 microdeletions (type-1) span 1.4-Mb and have breakpoints located within NF1-REPs A and C, low-copy repeats (LCRs) containing LRRC37-core duplicons. We have identified a novel type of recurrent NF1 deletion mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between the highly homologous NF1-REPs B and C. The breakpoints of these approximately 1.0-Mb ("type-3") NF1 deletions were characterized at the DNA sequence level in three unrelated patients. Recombination regions, spanning 275, 180, and 109-bp, respectively, were identified within the LRRC37B-P paralogues of NF1-REPs B and C, and were found to contain sequences capable of non-B DNA formation. Both LCRs contain LRRC37-core duplicons, abundant and highly dynamic sequences in the human genome. NAHR between LRRC37-containing LCRs at 17q21.31 is known to have mediated the 970-kb polymorphic inversions of the MAPT-locus that occurred independently in different primate species, but also underlies the syndromes associated with recurrent 17q21.31 microdeletions and reciprocal microduplications. The novel NF1 microdeletions reported here provide further evidence for the unusually high recombinogenic potential of LRRC37-containing LCRs in the human genome.
    Human Mutation 06/2010; 31(6):742-51. DOI:10.1002/humu.21254 · 5.05 Impact Factor