Characterizing complex structural variation in germline and somatic genomes

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.
Trends in Genetics (Impact Factor: 9.92). 11/2011; 28(1):43-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2011.10.002
Source: PubMed


Genome structural variation (SV) is a major source of genetic diversity in mammals and a hallmark of cancer. Although SV is typically defined by its canonical forms (duplication, deletion, insertion, inversion and translocation), recent breakpoint mapping studies have revealed a surprising number of 'complex' variants that evade simple classification. Complex SVs are defined by clustered breakpoints that arose through a single mutation but cannot be explained by one simple end-joining or recombination event. Some complex variants exhibit profoundly complicated rearrangements between distinct loci from multiple chromosomes, whereas others involve more subtle alterations at a single locus. These diverse and unpredictable features present a challenge for SV mapping experiments. Here, we review current knowledge of complex SV in mammals, and outline techniques for identifying and characterizing complex variants using next-generation DNA sequencing.

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    • "The development of cytogenomic techniques, such as high-density arrays and next-generation sequencing technologies (Kloosterman et al. 2011; Chiang et al. 2012), has allowed the detection of complex genomic rearrangements (CGR) and cryptic breakpoints. Thus, many CGR detected to date might actually be more complex than initially thought (Zhang et al. 2009; Quinlan and Hall 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Genome rearrangements are caused by the erroneous repair of DNA double-strand breaks, leading to several alterations that result in loss or gain of the structural genomic of a dosage-sensitive genes. However, the mechanisms that promote the complexity of rearrangements of congenital or developmental defects in human disease are unclear. The investigation of complex genomic abnormalities could help to elucidate the mechanisms and causes for the formation and facilitate the understanding of congenital or developmental defects in human disease. We here report one case of a patient with atypical clinical features of the 1p36 syndrome and the use of cytogenomic techniques to characterize the genomic alterations. Analysis by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and array revealed a complex rearrangement in the 1p36.3 region with deletions and duplication interspaced by normal sequences. We also suggest that chromoanagenesis could be a possible mechanism involved in the repair and stabilization of this rearrangement.
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer genomics projects employ high-throughput technologies to identify the complete catalog of somatic alterations that characterize the genome, transcriptome and epigenome of cohorts of tumor samples. Examples include projects carried out by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). A crucial step in the extraction of knowledge from the data is the exploration by experts of the different alterations, as well as the multiple relationships between them. To that end, the use of intuitive visualization tools that can integrate different types of alterations with clinical data is essential to the field of cancer genomics. Here, we review effective and common visualization techniques for exploring oncogenomics data and discuss a selection of tools that allow researchers to effectively visualize multidimensional oncogenomics datasets. The review covers visualization methods employed by tools such as Circos, Gitools, the Integrative Genomics Viewer, Cytoscape, Savant Genome Browser, StratomeX and platforms such as cBio Cancer Genomics Portal, IntOGen, the UCSC Cancer Genomics Browser, the Regulome Explorer and the Cancer Genome Workbench.
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    • "In recent years, additional molecular mechanisms have been proposed to operate in association with replication-based repair and cause CNVs. These mechanisms were proposed following the observation that a subset of human CNVs are highly complex [12,14,15]. Such complex CNVs are hard to explain given the canonical HR (and the associated NAHR) and NHEJ pathways because they would require multiple DNA double-strand breaks. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The detailed study of breakpoints associated with copy number variants (CNVs) can elucidate the mutational mechanisms that generate them and the comparison of breakpoints across species can highlight differences in genomic architecture that may lead to lineage-specific differences in patterns of CNVs. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of Drosophila CNV breakpoints and contrast it with similar analyses recently carried out for the human genome. Results By applying split-read methods to a total of 10x coverage of 454 shotgun sequence across nine lines of D. melanogaster and by re-examining a previously published dataset of CNVs detected using tiling arrays, we identified the precise breakpoints of more than 600 insertions, deletions, and duplications. Contrasting these CNVs with those found in humans showed that in both taxa CNV breakpoints fall into three classes: blunt breakpoints; simple breakpoints associated with microhomology; and breakpoints with additional nucleotides inserted/deleted and no microhomology. In both taxa CNV breakpoints are enriched with non-B DNA sequence structures, which may impair DNA replication and/or repair. However, in contrast to human genomes, non-allelic homologous-recombination (NAHR) plays a negligible role in CNV formation in Drosophila. In flies, non-homologous repair mechanisms are responsible for simple, recurrent, and complex CNVs, including insertions of de novo sequence as large as 60 bp. Conclusions Humans and Drosophila differ considerably in the importance of homology-based mechanisms for the formation of CNVs, likely as a consequence of the differences in the abundance and distribution of both segmental duplications and transposable elements between the two genomes.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Genome biology
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