T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is an aggressive post-thymic T-cell malignancy characterized by the recurrent inv(14)(q11q32)/t(14;14)(q11;q32) or t(X;14)(q28;q11) leading to activation of either the TCL1 or MTCP1 gene, respectively. However, these primary genetic events are insufficient to drive leukemogenesis. Recently, activating mutations in JAK3 have been identified in other T-cell malignancies. Since JAK3 is essential for T-cell maturation, we analyzed a cohort of 32 T-PLL patients for mutational hot spots in the JAK3 gene using a step-wise screening approach. We identified 14 mutations in 11 of 32 patients (34%). The most frequently detected mutation in our cohort was M511I (seen in 57% of cases) previously described as an activating change in other T-cell malignancies. Three patients carried two mutations in JAK3. In two patients M511I and R657Q were simultaneously detected and in another patient V674F and V678L. In the latter case we could demonstrate that the mutations were on the same allele in cis. Protein modeling and homology analyses of mutations present in other members of the JAK family suggested that these mutations likely activate JAK3, possibly by disrupting the activation loop and the interface between N and C lobes, increasing the accessibility of the catalytic loop. In addition, four of the 21 patients lacking a JAK3 point mutation presented an aberrant karyotype involving the chromosomal band 19p13 harboring the JAK3 locus. The finding of recurrent activating JAK3 mutations in patients with T-PLL could enable the use of JAK3 inhibitors to treat patients with this unfavorable malignancy who otherwise have a very poor prognosis.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a multisystem genetic disorder with distinct facies, growth failure, intellectual disability, distal limb anomalies, gastrointestinal and neurological disease. Mutations in NIPBL, encoding a cohesin regulatory protein, account for >80% of cases with typical facies. Mutations in the core cohesin complex proteins, encoded by the SMC1A, SMC3 and RAD21 genes, together account for ?5% of subjects, often with atypical CdLS features. Recently, we identified mutations in the X-linked gene HDAC8 as the cause of a small number of CdLS cases. Here, we report a cohort of 38 individuals with an emerging spectrum of features caused by HDAC8 mutations. For several individuals, the diagnosis of CdLS was not considered prior to genomic testing. Most mutations identified are missense and de novo. Many cases are heterozygous females, each with marked skewing of X-inactivation in peripheral blood DNA. We also identified eight hemizygous males who are more severely affected. The craniofacial appearance caused by HDAC8 mutations overlaps that of typical CdLS but often displays delayed anterior fontanelle closure, ocular hypertelorism, hooding of the eyelids, a broader nose and dental anomalies, which may be useful discriminating features. HDAC8 encodes the lysine deacetylase for the cohesin subunit SMC3 and analysis of the functional consequences of the missense mutations indicates that all cause a loss of enzymatic function. These data demonstrate that loss-of-function mutations in HDAC8 cause a range of overlapping human developmental phenotypes, including a phenotypically distinct subgroup of CdLS.
The genetic hallmark of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is the t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants leading to activation of the MYC oncogene. It is a matter of debate whether true BL without MYC translocation exists. Here, we identified 59 lymphomas concordantly called BL by 2 gene expression classifiers among 753 B-cell lymphomas. Only 2 (3%) of these 59 molecular BL lacked a MYC translocation, which both shared a peculiar pattern of chromosome 11q aberration characterized by interstitial gains including 11q23.2-q23.3 and telomeric losses of 11q24.1-qter. We extended our analysis to 17 MYC-negative high-grade B-cell lymphomas with a similar 11q aberration and showed this aberration to be recurrently associated with morphologic and clinical features of BL. The minimal region of gain was defined by high-level amplifications in 11q23.3 and associated with overexpression of genes including PAFAH1B2 on a transcriptional and protein level. The recurrent region of loss contained a focal homozygous deletion in 11q24.2-q24.3 including the ETS1 gene, which was shown to be mutated in 4 of 16 investigated cases. These findings indicate the existence of a molecularly distinct subset of B-cell lymphomas reminiscent of BL, which is characterized by deregulation of genes in 11q.
Protocols to generate strand-specific transcriptomes with next-generation sequencing platforms have been used by the scientific community roughly since 2008. Strand-specific reads allow for detection of antisense events and a higher resolution of expression profiles enabling extension of current transcript annotations. However, applications making use of this strandedness information are still scarce.
The human hepatic cell line LX-2 has been described as tool to study mechanisms of hepatic fibrogenesis and the testing of antifibrotic compounds. It was originally generated by immortalisation with the Simian Vacuolating Virus 40 (SV40) transforming (T) antigen and subsequent propagation in low serum conditions. Although this immortalized line is used in an increasing number of studies, detailed genetic characterisation has been lacking. We here have performed genetic characterisation of the LX-2 cell line and established a single-locus short tandem repeat (STR) profile for the cell line and characterized the LX-2 karyotype by several cytogenetic and molecular cytogenetic techniques. Spectral karyotyping (SKY) revealed a complex karyotype with a set of aberrations consistently present in the metaphases analyses which might serve as cytogenetic markers. In addition, various subclonal and single cell aberrations were detected. Our study provides criteria for genetic authentication of LX-2 and offers insights into the genotype changes which might underlie part of its phenotypic features.
Next-generation sequencing and the availability of high-density genotyping arrays have facilitated an analysis of somatic and meiotic mutations at unprecedented level, but drawing sensible conclusions about the functional relevance of the detected variants still remains a formidable challenge. In this context, the study of allelic imbalance in intermediate RNA phenotypes may prove a useful means to elucidate the likely effects of DNA variants of unknown significance. We developed a statistical framework for the assessment of allelic imbalance in next-generation transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data that requires neither an expression reference nor the underlying nuclear genotype(s), and that allows for allele miscalls. Using extensive simulation as well as publicly available whole-transcriptome data from European-descent individuals in HapMap, we explored the power of our approach in terms of both genotype inference and allelic imbalance assessment under a wide range of practically relevant scenarios. In so doing, we verified a superior performance of our methodology, particularly at low sequencing coverage, compared to the more simplistic approach of completely ignoring allele miscalls. Because the proposed framework can be used to assess somatic mutations and allelic imbalance in one and the same set of RNA-seq data, it will be particularly useful for the analysis of somatic genetic variation in cancer studies.
We describe a 3.5 year old girl presenting with short stature, developmental delay, marked muscular hypotonia with ataxia, premature pubarche, and dysmorphic features. A 1.07-1.12Mb-sized de novo microdeletion of chromosome 19p13.11 is most likely the cause for the clinical phenotype. The patient did not show any abnormalities of the extremities which contrasts with the finding of one previously reported patient with an overlapping deletion presenting with split hand and foot malformation (SHFM). The remarkable difference is that in the previously described patient but not in the patient reported herein the genes EPS15L1 and CALR3 were deleted. As EPS15L1 has been associated with limb development previously, the presented case provides indirect evidence that this may be a new candidate gene for SHFM. A possible genotype-phenotype correlation is provided based on literature review and comparison of our patient to the previously reported patients with overlapping or partly overlapping copy number variations in 19p13.11.
ALK positive diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) are a distinct lymphoma subtype associated with a poor outcome. Most of them feature a t(2;17) encoding a clathrin (CLTC)-ALK fusion protein. The contribution of deregulated ALK-activity in the pathogenesis and maintenance of these DLBCLs is not yet known. We established and characterized the first CLTC-ALK positive DLBCL cell line (LM1). LM1 formed tumors in NOD-SCID mice. The selective ALK inhibitor NVP-TAE684 inhibited growth of LM1 cells in vitro at nanomolar concentrations. NVP-TAE684 repressed ALK-activated signalling pathways and induced apoptosis of LM1 DLBCL cells. Inhibition of ALK-activity resulted in sustained tumor regression in the xenotransplant tumor model. These data indicate a role of CLTC-ALK in the maintenance of the malignant phenotype thereby providing a rationale therapeutic target for these otherwise refractory tumors.
Survival of the malignant Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg (HRS) cells in classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is dependent on constitutive activation of the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) transcription factor. The deubiquitinating enzyme CYLD is a negative regulator of NF-kappaB and known to function as a tumor suppressor. To determine whether CYLD mutations play a role in cHL pathogenesis, we sequenced the gene in cHL cell lines and microdissected HRS cells obtained from lymph-node biopsies. A biallelic inactivation by mutations was found in the cHL cell-line KM-H2. However, the other seven cHL cell lines analyzed and HRS cells of 10 primary cHL cases did not show any mutations. By interphase cytogenetics, a (sub)clonal biallelic CYLD deletion was observed by interphase cytogenetics in 1 of 29 primary cHL, whereas signal patterns indicating decreased CYLD copy numbers were observed in a total of 10 of 29 primary cases. Our results suggest that biallelic CYLD mutations are rarely involved in cHL pathogenesis. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that KM-H2 cells, besides the CYLD mutations, also carry inactivating mutations in the genes of two other NF-kappaB inhibitors, that is, NFKBIA and TNFAIP3, exemplifying that multiple lesions in regulators of this signaling pathway can likely cooperatively contribute to the strong NF-kappaB activity of these cells.
High-level expression of the cytokine receptor-like factor 2 gene, CRLF2, in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pB-ALL) was shown to be caused by a translocation involving the IGH@ locus or a deletion juxtaposing CRLF2 with the P2RY8 promoter. To assess its possible prognostic value, CRLF2 expression was analyzed in 555 childhood pB-ALL patients treated according to the Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster 2000 (ALL-BFM 2000) protocol. Besides CRLF2 rearrangements, high-level CRLF2 expression was seen in cases with supernumerary copies of the CRLF2 locus. On the basis of the detection of CRLF2 rearrangements, a CRLF2 high-expression group (n = 49) was defined. This group had a 6-year relapse incidence of 31% plus or minus 8% compared with 11% plus or minus 1% in the CRLF2 low-expression group (P = .006). This difference was mainly attributable to an extremely high incidence of relapse (71% +/- 19%) in non-high-risk patients with P2RY8-CRLF2 rearrangement. The assessment of CRLF2 aberrations may therefore serve as new stratification tool in Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster-based protocols by identifying additional high-risk patients who may benefit from an intensified and/or targeted treatment.
Rhabdoid tumors of early infancy are highly aggressive with consequent poor prognosis. Most cases show inactivation of the SMARCB1 (also known as INI1 and hSNF5) tumor suppressor, a core member of the ATP-dependent SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Familial cases, described as rhabdoid tumor predisposition syndrome (RTPS), have been linked to heterozygous SMARCB1 germline mutations. We identified inactivation of another member of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, its ATPase subunit SMARCA4 (also known as BRG1), due to a SMARCA4/BRG1 germline mutation and loss of heterozygosity by uniparental disomy in the tumor cells of two sisters with rhabdoid tumors lacking SMARCB1 mutations. SMARCA4 is thus a second member of the SWI/SNF complex involved in cancer predisposition. Its general involvement in other tumor entities remains to be established.
Chromosomal translocations involving the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) locus define common subgroups of B-cell lymphoma but are rare in B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). Recent fluorescent in situ hybridization and molecular cloning studies have identified several novel IGH translocations involving genes that play important roles in normal hemopoiesis, including the cytokine receptor genes CRLF2 and EPOR, all members of the CCAAT enhancer-binding protein gene family, as well as genes not normally expressed in hemopoietic cells including inhibitor of DNA binding 4. IGH translocation results in deregulated target gene expression because of juxtaposition with IGH transcriptional enhancers. However, many genes targeted by IGH translocations are also more commonly deregulated in BCP-ALL as a consequence of other genetic or epigenetic mechanisms. For example, interstitial genomic deletions also result in deregulated CRLF2 expression, whereas EPOR expression is deregulated as a consequence of the ETV6-RUNX1 fusion. The possible clinical importance of many of the various IGH translocations in BCP-ALL remains to be determined from prospective studies, but CRLF2 expression is associated with a poor prognosis. Despite their rarity, IGH chromosomal translocations in BCP-ALL therefore define not only new mechanisms of B-cell transformation but also clinically important subgroups of disease and suggest new targeted therapeutic approaches.
Little is known about genomic aberrations in peripheral T cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (PTCL NOS). We studied 47 PTCL NOS by 250k GeneChip single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and detected genomic imbalances in 22 of the cases. Recurrent gains and losses were identified, including gains of chromosome regions 1q32-43, 2p15-16, 7, 8q24, 11q14-25, 17q11-21 and 21q11-21 (> or = 5 cases each) as well as losses of chromosome regions 1p35-36, 5q33, 6p22, 6q16, 6q21-22, 8p21-23, 9p21, 10p11-12, 10q11-22, 10q25-26, 13q14, 15q24, 16q22, 16q24, 17p11, 17p13 and Xp22 (> or = 4 cases each). Genomic imbalances affected several regions containing members of nuclear factor-kappaB signalling and genes involved in cell cycle control. Gains of 2p15-16 were confirmed in each of three cases analysed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and were associated with breakpoints at the REL locus in two of these cases. Three additional cases with gains of the REL locus were detected by FISH among 18 further PTCL NOS. Five of 27 PTCL NOS investigated showed nuclear expression of the REL protein by immunohistochemistry, partly associated with genomic gains of the REL locus. Therefore, in a subgroup of PTCL NOS gains/rearrangements of REL and expression of REL protein may be of pathogenetic relevance.
We report 2 novel, cryptic chromosomal abnormalities in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL): a translocation, either t(X;14)(p22;q32) or t(Y;14)(p11;q32), in 33 patients and an interstitial deletion, either del(X)(p22.33p22.33) or del(Y)(p11.32p11.32), in 64 patients, involving the pseudoautosomal region (PAR1) of the sex chromosomes. The incidence of these abnormalities was 5% in childhood ALL (0.8% with the translocation, 4.2% with the deletion). Patients with the translocation were older (median age, 16 years), whereas the patients with the deletion were younger (median age, 4 years). The 2 abnormalities result in deregulated expression of the cytokine receptor, cytokine receptor-like factor 2, CRLF2 (also known as thymic stromal-derived lymphopoietin receptor, TSLPR). Overexpression of CRLF2 was associated with activation of the JAK-STAT pathway in cell lines and transduced primary B-cell progenitors, sustaining their proliferation and indicating a causal role of CRLF2 overexpression in lymphoid transformation. In Down syndrome (DS) ALL and 2 non-DS BCP-ALL cell lines, CRLF2 deregulation was associated with mutations of the JAK2 pseudokinase domain, suggesting oncogenic cooperation as well as highlighting a link between non-DS ALL and JAK2 mutations.
Alterations in the DNA methylation pattern are a hallmark of leukemias and lymphomas. However, most epigenetic studies in hematologic neoplasms (HNs) have focused either on the analysis of few candidate genes or many genes and few HN entities, and comprehensive studies are required.
Proliferation and survival of Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg (HRS) cells, the malignant cells of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), are dependent on constitutive activation of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). NF-kappaB activation through various stimuli is negatively regulated by the zinc finger protein A20. To determine whether A20 contributes to the pathogenesis of cHL, we sequenced TNFAIP3, encoding A20, in HL cell lines and laser-microdissected HRS cells from cHL biopsies. We detected somatic mutations in 16 out of 36 cHLs (44%), including missense mutations in 2 out of 16 Epstein-Barr virus-positive (EBV(+)) cHLs and a missense mutation, nonsense mutations, and frameshift-causing insertions or deletions in 14 out of 20 EBV(-) cHLs. In most mutated cases, both TNFAIP3 alleles were inactivated, including frequent chromosomal deletions of TNFAIP3. Reconstitution of wild-type TNFAIP3 in A20-deficient cHL cell lines revealed a significant decrease in transcripts of selected NF-kappaB target genes and caused cytotoxicity. Extending the mutation analysis to primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBL), another lymphoma with constitutive NF-kappaB activity, revealed destructive mutations in 5 out of 14 PMBLs (36%). This report identifies TNFAIP3 (A20), a key regulator of NF-kappaB activity, as a novel tumor suppressor gene in cHL and PMBL. The significantly higher frequency of TNFAIP3 mutations in EBV(-) than EBV(+) cHL suggests complementing functions of TNFAIP3 inactivation and EBV infection in cHL pathogenesis.
The translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32) is the genetic hallmark of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) but is not sufficient for inducing lymphomagenesis. Here we performed genome-wide 100K GeneChip Mapping in 26 t(11;14)-positive MCL and six MCL cell lines. Partial uniparental disomy (pUPD) was shown to be a recurrent chromosomal event not only in MCL cell lines but also in primary MCL. Remarkably, pUPD affected recurrent targets of deletion like 11q, 13q and 17p. Moreover, we identified 12 novel regions of recurrent gain and loss as well as 12 high-level amplifications and eight homozygously deleted regions hitherto undescribed in MCL. Interestingly, GeneChip analyses identified different genes, encoding proteins involved in microtubule dynamics, such as MAP2, MAP6 and TP53, as targets for chromosomal aberration in MCL. Further investigation, including mutation analyses, fluorescence in situ hybridisation as well as epigenetic and expression studies, revealed additional aberrations frequently affecting these genes. In total, 19 of 20 MCL cases, which were subjected to genetic and epigenetic analyses, and five of six MCL cell lines harboured at least one aberration in MAP2, MAP6 or TP53. These findings provide evidence that alterations of microtubule dynamics might be one of the critical events in MCL lymphomagenesis contributing to chromosomal instability.
In the recent past large progress has been made in the analysis of the epigenome, the entirety of epigenetic modifications, and its meaning for the implementation of the genetic code. Besides histone modifications and miRNA expression, DNA methylation is one of the key players in the field of epigenetics, involved in numerous regulatory processes.
Various genes located at imprinted loci and regulated by epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the control of growth and differentiation. The broad phenotypic variability of imprinting disorders suggests that individuals with inborn errors of imprinting might remain undetected among patients born small for gestational age (SGA). We evaluated quantitative DNA methylation analysis at differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of 10 imprinted loci (PLAGL1, IGF2R DMR2, GRB10, H19 DMR, IGF2, MEG3, NDN, SNRPN, NESP, NESPAS) by bisulphite pyrosequencing in 98 patients born SGA and 50 controls. For IGF2R DMR2, methylation patterns of additional 47 parent pairs and one mother (95 individuals) of patients included in the SGA cohort were analyzed. In six out of 98 patients born SGA, we detected DNA methylation changes at single loci. In one child, the diagnosis of upd(14)mat syndrome owing to an epimutation of the MEG3 locus in 14q32 could be established. The remaining five patients showed hypomethylation at GRB10 (n=2), hypomethylation at the H19 3CTCF-binding site (n=1), hypermethylation at NDN (n=1) and hypermethylation at IGF2 (n=1). IGF2R DMR2 hypermethylation was detected in five patients, six parents of patients in the SGA cohort and two controls. We conclude that aberrant methylation at imprinted loci in children born SGA exists but seems to be rare if known imprinting syndromes are excluded. Further investigations on the physiological variations and the functional consequences of the detected aberrant methylation are necessary before final conclusions on the clinical impact can be drawn.
Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg (HRS) cells in classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) show constitutive activation of nuclear factor (NF)-?B. Several genetic lesions contribute to this deregulated NF-?B activity. Here, we analysed two further NF-?B regulators for genetic lesions, the inhibitory factor TRAF3 and the key signalling component of the alternative NF-?B pathway, MAP3K14 (NIK). Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array analysis of cHL cell lines revealed a uniparental disomy of the long arm of chromosome 14 associated with a biallelic deletion of TRAF3 located on this chromosome in cell line U-HO1. Cloning of the deletion breakpoint showed a 123 371 bp deletion. No inactivating mutations of TRAF3 were found in six other cHL cell lines or in microdissected HRS cells from seven cHL. However, in primary cHL samples interphase cytogenetic analyses revealed signal patterns indicating monoallelic deletion of TRAF3 in 3/20 other cases. SNP array analysis revealed a gain of copy number for MAP3K14 in three cHL cell lines. Gains of MAP3K14 were detected in 5/16 cases of primary cHL. In conclusion, in rare instances, HRS cells harbour inactivating mutations of the TRAF3 gene and recurrently show gains of MAP3K14, indicating that more components of NF-?B signalling show genetic lesions in HRS cells than previously known.
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