[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: QT interval variation is assumed to arise from variation in repolarization as evidenced from rare Na- and K-channel mutations in Mendelian QT prolongation syndromes. However, in the general population, common noncoding variants at a chromosome 1q locus are the most common genetic regulators of QT interval variation. In this study, we use multiple human genetic, molecular genetic, and cellular assays to identify a functional variant underlying trait association: a noncoding polymorphism (rs7539120) that maps within an enhancer of NOS1AP and affects cardiac function by increasing NOS1AP transcript expression. We further localized NOS1AP to cardiomyocyte intercalated discs (IDs) and demonstrate that overexpression of NOS1AP in cardiomyocytes leads to altered cellular electrophysiology. We advance the hypothesis that NOS1AP affects cardiac electrical conductance and coupling and thereby regulates the QT interval through propagation defects. As further evidence of an important role for propagation variation affecting QT interval in humans, we show that common polymorphisms mapping near a specific set of 170 genes encoding ID proteins are significantly enriched for association with the QT interval, as compared to genome-wide markers. These results suggest that focused studies of proteins within the cardiomyocyte ID are likely to provide insights into QT prolongation and its associated disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In severe early-onset epilepsy, precise clinical and molecular genetic diagnosis is complex, as many metabolic and electro-physiological processes have been implicated in disease causation. The clinical phenotypes share many features such as complex seizure types and developmental delay. Molecular diagnosis has historically been confined to sequential testing of candidate genes known to be associated with specific sub-phenotypes, but the diagnostic yield of this approach can be low. We conducted whole-genome sequencing (WGS) on six patients with severe early-onset epilepsy who had previously been refractory to molecular diagnosis, and their parents. Four of these patients had a clinical diagnosis of Ohtahara Syndrome (OS) and two patients had severe non-syndromic early-onset epilepsy (NSEOE). In two OS cases, we found de novo non-synonymous mutations in the genes KCNQ2 and SCN2A. In a third OS case, WGS revealed paternal isodisomy for chromosome 9, leading to identification of the causal homozygous missense variant in KCNT1, which produced a substantial increase in potassium channel current. The fourth OS patient had a recessive mutation in PIGQ that led to exon skipping and defective glycophosphatidyl inositol biosynthesis. The two patients with NSEOE had likely pathogenic de novo mutations in CBL and CSNK1G1, respectively. Mutations in these genes were not found among 500 additional individuals with epilepsy. This work reveals two novel genes for OS, KCNT1 and PIGQ. It also uncovers unexpected genetic mechanisms and emphasizes the power of WGS as a clinical tool for making molecular diagnoses, particularly for highly heterogeneous disorders.
Human Molecular Genetics 01/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SAMHD1 is a deoxynucleoside triphosphate triphosphohydrolase (dNTP TPH) and a nuclease that restricts HIV-1 in non-cycling cells. Germline mutations in SAMHD1 have been described in patients with Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), a congenital autoimmune disease. In a previous longitudinal WGS study of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) we revealed a SAMHD1 mutation as a potential founding event. Here, we describe an AGS patient carrying a pathogenic germline SAMHD1 mutation who developed CLL at 24 years of age. Using clinical trial samples, we show that acquired SAMHD1 mutations are associated with high variant allele frequency, reduced SAMHD1 expression and occur in 11% of relapsed/refractory CLL patients. We provide evidence that SAMHD1 regulates cell proliferation and survival and engages in specific protein interactions in response to DNA damage. We propose that SAMHD1 may have a function in DNA repair and that the presence of SAMHD1 mutations in CLL promotes leukemia development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanisms involved in progression from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma (SMM) to malignant multiple myeloma (MM) and plasma cell leukemia (PCL) are poorly understood but believed to involve the sequential acquisition of genetic hits. We performed exome and whole genome sequencing on a series of MGUS (n=4), high risk (HR)-SMM (n=4), MM (n=26) and PCL (n=2) samples, including four cases who transformed from HR-SMM to MM, to determine the genetic factors which drive progression of disease. The pattern and number of non-synonymous mutations show that the MGUS disease stage is less genetically complex than MM, and HR-SMM is similar to presenting MM. Intraclonal heterogeneity is present at all stages and using cases of HR-SMM, which transformed to MM, we show that intraclonal heterogeneity is a typical feature of the disease. At the HR-SMM stage of disease the majority of the genetic changes necessary to give rise to MM are already present. These data suggest that clonal progression is the key feature of transformation of HR-SMM to MM and as such the invasive clinically predominant clone typical of MM is already present at the SMM stage and would be amenable to therapeutic intervention at that stage.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 2 July 2013; doi:10.1038/leu.2013.199.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 07/2013; · 10.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The congenital dyserythropoietic anemias are a heterogeneous group of rare disorders primarily affecting erythropoiesis with characteristic morphological abnormalities and a block in erythroid maturation. Mutations in the CDAN1 gene, which encodes Codanin-1, underlie the majority of congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type I cases. However, no likely pathogenic CDAN1 mutation has been detected in 20% of cases, suggesting the presence of at least one other locus. We used whole genome sequencing and segregation analysis to identify a homozygous T to A transversion (c.533T>A), predicted to lead to a p.L178Q missense substitution in C15ORF41, a gene of unknown function, in a consanguineous pedigree of Middle-Eastern origin. Sequencing C15ORF41 in other CDAN1 mutation-negative congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type I pedigrees identified a homozygous transition (c.281A>G), predicted to lead to a p.Y94C substitution, in two further pedigrees of South-East Asian origin. The haplotype surrounding the c.281A>G change suggests a founder effect for this mutation in Pakistan. Detailed sequence similarity searches indicate that C15ORF41 encodes a novel restriction endonuclease that is a member of the Holliday junction resolvase family of proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancers acquire resistance to systemic treatment as a result of clonal evolution and selection. Repeat biopsies to study genomic evolution as a result of therapy are difficult, invasive and may be confounded by intra-tumour heterogeneity. Recent studies have shown that genomic alterations in solid cancers can be characterized by massively parallel sequencing of circulating cell-free tumour DNA released from cancer cells into plasma, representing a non-invasive liquid biopsy. Here we report sequencing of cancer exomes in serial plasma samples to track genomic evolution of metastatic cancers in response to therapy. Six patients with advanced breast, ovarian and lung cancers were followed over 1-2 years. For each case, exome sequencing was performed on 2-5 plasma samples (19 in total) spanning multiple courses of treatment, at selected time points when the allele fraction of tumour mutations in plasma was high, allowing improved sensitivity. For two cases, synchronous biopsies were also analysed, confirming genome-wide representation of the tumour genome in plasma. Quantification of allele fractions in plasma identified increased representation of mutant alleles in association with emergence of therapy resistance. These included an activating mutation in PIK3CA (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase, catalytic subunit alpha) following treatment with paclitaxel; a truncating mutation in RB1 (retinoblastoma 1) following treatment with cisplatin; a truncating mutation in MED1 (mediator complex subunit 1) following treatment with tamoxifen and trastuzumab, and following subsequent treatment with lapatinib, a splicing mutation in GAS6 (growth arrest-specific 6) in the same patient; and a resistance-conferring mutation in EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor; T790M) following treatment with gefitinib. These results establish proof of principle that exome-wide analysis of circulating tumour DNA could complement current invasive biopsy approaches to identify mutations associated with acquired drug resistance in advanced cancers. Serial analysis of cancer genomes in plasma constitutes a new paradigm for the study of clonal evolution in human cancers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The management of metastatic breast cancer requires monitoring of the tumor burden to determine the response to treatment, and improved biomarkers are needed. Biomarkers such as cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) and circulating tumor cells have been widely studied. However, circulating cell-free DNA carrying tumor-specific alterations (circulating tumor DNA) has not been extensively investigated or compared with other circulating biomarkers in breast cancer. Methods We compared the radiographic imaging of tumors with the assay of circulating tumor DNA, CA 15-3, and circulating tumor cells in 30 women with metastatic breast cancer who were receiving systemic therapy. We used targeted or whole-genome sequencing to identify somatic genomic alterations and designed personalized assays to quantify circulating tumor DNA in serially collected plasma specimens. CA 15-3 levels and numbers of circulating tumor cells were measured at identical time points. Results Circulating tumor DNA was successfully detected in 29 of the 30 women (97%) in whom somatic genomic alterations were identified; CA 15-3 and circulating tumor cells were detected in 21 of 27 women (78%) and 26 of 30 women (87%), respectively. Circulating tumor DNA levels showed a greater dynamic range, and greater correlation with changes in tumor burden, than did CA 15-3 or circulating tumor cells. Among the measures tested, circulating tumor DNA provided the earliest measure of treatment response in 10 of 19 women (53%). Conclusions This proof-of-concept analysis showed that circulating tumor DNA is an informative, inherently specific, and highly sensitive biomarker of metastatic breast cancer. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others.).
New England Journal of Medicine 03/2013; · 51.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital myasthenic syndromes are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders that arise from impaired signal transmission at the neuromuscular synapse. They are characterized by fatigable muscle weakness. We performed linkage analysis, whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing to determine the underlying defect in patients with an inherited limb-girdle pattern of myasthenic weakness. We identify ALG14 and ALG2 as novel genes in which mutations cause a congenital myasthenic syndrome. Through analogy with yeast, ALG14 is thought to form a multiglycosyltransferase complex with ALG13 and DPAGT1 that catalyses the first two committed steps of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation. We show that ALG14 is concentrated at the muscle motor endplates and small interfering RNA silencing of ALG14 results in reduced cell-surface expression of muscle acetylcholine receptor expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. ALG2 is an alpha-1,3-mannosyltransferase that also catalyses early steps in the asparagine-linked glycosylation pathway. Mutations were identified in two kinships, with mutation ALG2p.Val68Gly found to severely reduce ALG2 expression both in patient muscle, and in cell cultures. Identification of DPAGT1, ALG14 and ALG2 mutations as a cause of congenital myasthenic syndrome underscores the importance of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation for proper functioning of the neuromuscular junction. These syndromes form part of the wider spectrum of congenital disorders of glycosylation caused by impaired asparagine-linked glycosylation. It is likely that further genes encoding components of this pathway will be associated with congenital myasthenic syndromes or impaired neuromuscular transmission as part of a more severe multisystem disorder. Our findings suggest that treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors may improve muscle function in many of the congenital disorders of glycosylation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many individuals with multiple or large colorectal adenomas or early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) have no detectable germline mutations in the known cancer predisposition genes. Using whole-genome sequencing, supplemented by linkage and association analysis, we identified specific heterozygous POLE or POLD1 germline variants in several multiple-adenoma and/or CRC cases but in no controls. The variants associated with susceptibility, POLE p.Leu424Val and POLD1 p.Ser478Asn, have high penetrance, and POLD1 mutation was also associated with endometrial cancer predisposition. The mutations map to equivalent sites in the proofreading (exonuclease) domain of DNA polymerases ɛ and δ and are predicted to cause a defect in the correction of mispaired bases inserted during DNA replication. In agreement with this prediction, the tumors from mutation carriers were microsatellite stable but tended to acquire base substitution mutations, as confirmed by yeast functional assays. Further analysis of published data showed that the recently described group of hypermutant, microsatellite-stable CRCs is likely to be caused by somatic POLE mutations affecting the exonuclease domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: β-III spectrin is present in the brain and is known to be important in the function of the cerebellum. Heterozygous mutations in SPTBN2, the gene encoding β-III spectrin, cause Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 5 (SCA5), an adult-onset, slowly progressive, autosomal-dominant pure cerebellar ataxia. SCA5 is sometimes known as "Lincoln ataxia," because the largest known family is descended from relatives of the United States President Abraham Lincoln. Using targeted capture and next-generation sequencing, we identified a homozygous stop codon in SPTBN2 in a consanguineous family in which childhood developmental ataxia co-segregates with cognitive impairment. The cognitive impairment could result from mutations in a second gene, but further analysis using whole-genome sequencing combined with SNP array analysis did not reveal any evidence of other mutations. We also examined a mouse knockout of β-III spectrin in which ataxia and progressive degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells has been previously reported and found morphological abnormalities in neurons from prefrontal cortex and deficits in object recognition tasks, consistent with the human cognitive phenotype. These data provide the first evidence that β-III spectrin plays an important role in cortical brain development and cognition, in addition to its function in the cerebellum; and we conclude that cognitive impairment is an integral part of this novel recessive ataxic syndrome, Spectrin-associated Autosomal Recessive Cerebellar Ataxia type 1 (SPARCA1). In addition, the identification of SPARCA1 and normal heterozygous carriers of the stop codon in SPTBN2 provides insights into the mechanism of molecular dominance in SCA5 and demonstrates that the cell-specific repertoire of spectrin subunits underlies a novel group of disorders, the neuronal spectrinopathies, which includes SCA5, SPARCA1, and a form of West syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is characterized by relapse after treatment and chemotherapy resistance. Like in other malignancies, leukaemia cells accumulate mutations during growth, forming heterogeneous cell populations that are subject to Darwinian selection and may respond differentially to treatment. There is therefore a clinical need to monitor changes in the subclonal composition of cancers during disease progression. Here, we use whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to track subclonal heterogeneity in three CLL patients subjected to repeated cycles of therapy. We reveal different somatic mutation profiles in each patient and use these to establish likely hierarchical patterns of subclonal evolution, to identify subclones that decline or expand over time, and to detect founder mutations. We show that clonal evolution patterns are heterogeneous in individual patients. We conclude that genome sequencing is a powerful and sensitive approach to monitor disease progression repeatedly at the molecular level. If applied to future clinical trials- this approach might eventually influence treatment strategies as a tool to individualise and direct cancer treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular pathogenesis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is poorly understood. Whole-genome and exome sequencing followed by innovative tumorgraft analyses (to accurately determine mutant allele ratios) identified several putative two-hit tumor suppressor genes, including BAP1. The BAP1 protein, a nuclear deubiquitinase, is inactivated in 15% of clear cell RCCs. BAP1 cofractionates with and binds to HCF-1 in tumorgrafts. Mutations disrupting the HCF-1 binding motif impair BAP1-mediated suppression of cell proliferation but not deubiquitination of monoubiquitinated histone 2A lysine 119 (H2AK119ub1). BAP1 loss sensitizes RCC cells in vitro to genotoxic stress. Notably, mutations in BAP1 and PBRM1 anticorrelate in tumors (P = 3 × 10(-5)), and combined loss of BAP1 and PBRM1 in a few RCCs was associated with rhabdoid features (q = 0.0007). BAP1 and PBRM1 regulate seemingly different gene expression programs, and BAP1 loss was associated with high tumor grade (q = 0.0005). Our results establish the foundation for an integrated pathological and molecular genetic classification of RCC, paving the way for subtype-specific treatments exploiting genetic vulnerabilities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most anticancer drugs entering clinical trials fail to achieve approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drug development is hampered by the lack of preclinical models with therapeutic predictive value. Herein, we report the development and validation of a tumorgraft model of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and its application to the evaluation of an experimental drug. Tumor samples from 94 patients were implanted in the kidneys of mice without additives or disaggregation. Tumors from 35 of these patients formed tumorgrafts, and 16 stable lines were established. Samples from metastatic sites engrafted at higher frequency than those from primary tumors, and stable engraftment of primary tumors in mice correlated with decreased patient survival. Tumorgrafts retained the histology, gene expression, DNA copy number alterations, and more than 90% of the protein-coding gene mutations of the corresponding tumors. As determined by the induction of hypercalcemia in tumorgraft-bearing mice, tumorgrafts retained the ability to induce paraneoplastic syndromes. In studies simulating drug exposures in patients, RCC tumorgraft growth was inhibited by sunitinib and sirolimus (the active metabolite of temsirolimus in humans), but not by erlotinib, which was used as a control. Dovitinib, a drug in clinical development, showed greater activity than sunitinib and sirolimus. The routine incorporation of models recapitulating the molecular genetics and drug sensitivities of human tumors into preclinical programs has the potential to improve oncology drug development.
Science translational medicine 06/2012; 4(137):137ra75. · 10.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasma of cancer patients contains cell-free tumor DNA that carries information on tumor mutations and tumor burden. Individual mutations have been probed using allele-specific assays, but sequencing of entire genes to detect cancer mutations in circulating DNA has not been demonstrated. We developed a method for tagged-amplicon deep sequencing (TAm-Seq) and screened 5995 genomic bases for low-frequency mutations. Using this method, we identified cancer mutations present in circulating DNA at allele frequencies as low as 2%, with sensitivity and specificity of >97%. We identified mutations throughout the tumor suppressor gene TP53 in circulating DNA from 46 plasma samples of advanced ovarian cancer patients. We demonstrated use of TAm-Seq to noninvasively identify the origin of metastatic relapse in a patient with multiple primary tumors. In another case, we identified in plasma an EGFR mutation not found in an initial ovarian biopsy. We further used TAm-Seq to monitor tumor dynamics, and tracked 10 concomitant mutations in plasma of a metastatic breast cancer patient over 16 months. This low-cost, high-throughput method could facilitate analysis of circulating DNA as a noninvasive "liquid biopsy" for personalized cancer genomics.
Science translational medicine 05/2012; 4(136):136ra68. · 10.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA) is a human immunodeficiency caused by failure of pre-B cells in the bone marrow to develop into circulating mature B cells. A novel gene has been isolated which maps to the XLA locus, is expressed in B cells, and shows mutations in families with the disorder. The gene is a member of the src family of proto-oncogenes which encode protein-tyrosine kinases. This is, to our knowledge, the first evidence that mutations in a src-related gene are involved in human genetic disease.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2012; 188(7):2948-55. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), the largest marsupial carnivore, is endangered due to a transmissible facial cancer spread by direct transfer of living cancer cells through biting. Here we describe the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the Tasmanian devil genome and whole-genome sequences for two geographically distant subclones of the cancer. Genomic analysis suggests that the cancer first arose from a female Tasmanian devil and that the clone has subsequently genetically diverged during its spread across Tasmania. The devil cancer genome contains more than 17,000 somatic base substitution mutations and bears the imprint of a distinct mutational process. Genotyping of somatic mutations in 104 geographically and temporally distributed Tasmanian devil tumors reveals the pattern of evolution and spread of this parasitic clonal lineage, with evidence of a selective sweep in one geographical area and persistence of parallel lineages in other populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Partial Epilepsy with Pericentral Spikes (PEPS) is a novel Mendelian idiopathic epilepsy with evidence of linkage to Chromosome 4p15. Our aim was to identify the causative mutation in this epilepsy syndrome.
We re-annotated all 42 genes in the linked chromosomal region and sequenced all genes within the linked interval. All exons, intron-exon boundaries and untranslated regions were sequenced in the original pedigree, and novel changes segregating correctly were subjected to bioinformatic analysis. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to examine for potential copy number variation (CNV).
29 previously undescribed variants correctly segregating with the linked haplotype were identified. Bioinformatic analysis demonstrated that six variants were non-synonymous coding sequence polymorphisms, one of which, in Q8IYL2 (Gly400Ala), was found in neither Caucasian (n=243) and ancestry-matched Brazilian (n=180) control samples, nor subjects from the 1000 Genome Project. No gene duplications or deletions were identified in the linked region.
We postulate that Q8IYL2 is a causative gene for PEPS, after exhaustive resequencing and bioinformatic analysis. The function of this gene is unknown, but it is expressed in brain tissue.
Epilepsy research 06/2011; 96(1-2):109-15. · 2.48 Impact Factor