Repetitive sequences account for approximately half of the human genome. Accurately ascertaining sequences in these regions with next generation sequencers is challenging, and requires a different set of analytical techniques than for reads originating from unique sequences. Complicating the matter are repetitive regions subject to programmed rearrangements, as is the case with the antigen-binding domains in the Immunoglobulin (Ig) and T-cell receptor (TCR) loci.
Lymphocytes achieve diversity in antigen recognition in part by rearranging genomic DNA at loci encoding antibodies and cell surface receptors. The process, termed V(D)J recombination, juxtaposes modular coding sequences for antigen binding. Erroneous recombination events causing chromosomal translocations are recognized causes of lymphoid malignancies. Here we show a hybridization based method for sequence enrichment can be used to efficiently and selectively capture genomic DNA adjacent to V(D)J recombination breakpoints for massively parallel sequencing. The approach obviates the need for PCR amplification of recombined sequences.
A newly discovered gammaretrovirus, termed XMRV, was recently reported to be present in the prostate cancer cell line CWR22Rv1. Using a combination of both immunohistochemistry with broadly-reactive murine leukemia virus (MLV) anti-sera and PCR, we determined if additional prostate cancer or other cell lines contain XMRV or MLV-related viruses. Our study included a total of 72 cell lines, which included 58 of the 60 human cancer cell lines used in anticancer drug screens and maintained at the NCI-Frederick (NCI-60). We have identified gammaretroviruses in two additional prostate cancer cell lines: LAPC4 and VCaP, and show that these viruses are replication competent. Viral genome sequencing identified the virus in LAPC4 and VCaP as nearly identical to another known xenotropic MLV, Bxv-1. We also identified a gammaretrovirus in the non-small-cell lung carcinoma cell line EKVX. Prostate cancer cell lines appear to have a propensity for infection with murine gammaretroviruses, and we propose that this may be in part due to cell line establishment by xenograft passage in immunocompromised mice. It is unclear if infection with these viruses is necessary for cell line establishment, or what confounding role they may play in experiments performed with these commonly used lines. Importantly, our results suggest a need for regular screening of cancer cell lines for retroviral "contamination", much like routine mycoplasma testing.
Characterizing structural variants in the human genome is of great importance, but a genome wide analysis to detect interspersed repeats has not been done. Thus, the degree to which mobile DNAs contribute to genetic diversity, heritable disease, and oncogenesis remains speculative. We perform transposon insertion profiling by microarray (TIP-chip) to map human L1(Ta) retrotransposons (LINE-1 s) genome-wide. This identified numerous novel human L1(Ta) insertional polymorphisms with highly variant allelic frequencies. We also explored TIP-chips usefulness to identify candidate alleles associated with different phenotypes in clinical cohorts. Our data suggest that the occurrence of new insertions is twice as high as previously estimated, and that these repeats are under-recognized as sources of human genomic and phenotypic diversity. We have just begun to probe the universe of human L1(Ta) polymorphisms, and as TIP-chip is applied to other insertions such as Alu SINEs, it will expand the catalog of genomic variants even further.
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