Diverse epidemiological factors are associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) prevalence in different populations. However, the global landscape of the genetic changes in HCC genomes underpinning different epidemiological and ancestral backgrounds still remains uncharted. Here a collection of data from 503 liver cancer genomes from different populations uncovered 30 candidate driver genes and 11 core pathway modules. Furthermore, a collaboration of two large-scale cancer genome projects comparatively analyzed the trans-ancestry substitution signatures in 608 liver cancer cases and identified unique mutational signatures that predominantly contribute to Asian cases. This work elucidates previously unexplored ancestry-associated mutational processes in HCC development. A combination of hotspot TERT promoter mutation, TERT focal amplification and viral genome integration occurs in more than 68% of cases, implicating TERT as a central and ancestry-independent node of hepatocarcinogenesis. Newly identified alterations in genes encoding metabolic enzymes, chromatin remodelers and a high proportion of mTOR pathway activations offer potential therapeutic and diagnostic opportunities.
Chondrosarcoma is the second most frequent malignant bone tumor. However, the etiological background of chondrosarcomagenesis remains largely unknown, along with details on molecular alterations and potential therapeutic targets. Massively parallel paired-end sequencing of whole genomes of 10 primary chondrosarcomas revealed that the process of accumulation of somatic mutations is homogeneous irrespective of the pathological subtype or the presence of IDH1 mutations, is unique among a range of cancer types, and shares significant commonalities with that of prostate cancer. Clusters of structural alterations localized within a single chromosome were observed in four cases. Combined with targeted resequencing of additional cartilaginous tumor cohorts, we identified somatic alterations of the COL2A1 gene, which encodes an essential extracellular matrix protein in chondroskeletal development, in 19.3% of chondrosarcoma and 31.7% of enchondroma cases. Epigenetic regulators (IDH1 and YEATS2) and an activin/BMP signal component (ACVR2A) were recurrently altered. Furthermore, a novel FN1-ACVR2A fusion transcript was observed in both chondrosarcoma and osteochondromatosis cases. With the characteristic accumulative process of somatic changes as a background, molecular defects in chondrogenesis and aberrant epigenetic control are primarily causative of both benign and malignant cartilaginous tumors.
Differential diagnosis of small round cell sarcomas (SRCSs) grouped under the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) can be a challenging situation for pathologists. Recent studies have revealed that some groups of Ewing-like sarcoma show typical ESFT morphology but lack any EWSR1-ETS gene fusions. Here we identified a novel gene fusion, CIC-FOXO4, in a case of Ewing-like sarcoma with a t(X;19)(q13;q13.3) translocation. The patient was a 63-year-old man who had an asymptomatic, 30-mm, well-demarcated, intramuscular mass in his right posterior neck, and imaging findings suggested a diagnosis of high-grade sarcoma. He was treated with complete resection and subsequent radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He was alive without local recurrence or distant metastasis 6 months after the operation. Histologic examination revealed SRCS with abundant desmoplastic fibrous stroma suggesting a desmoplastic small round cell tumor. Immunohistochemical analysis showed weak to moderate and partial staining for MIC2 (CD99) and WT1, respectively. High-throughput transcriptome sequencing revealed a gene fusion, and the genomic rearrangement between the CIC and FOXO4 genes was identified by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Aside from the desmoplastic stroma, the CIC-FOXO4 fusion sarcoma showed morphologic and immunohistochemical similarity to ESFT and Ewing-like sarcomas, including the recently described CIC-DUX4 fusion sarcoma. Although clinicopathologic analysis with additional cases is necessary, we conclude that CIC-FOXO4 fusion sarcoma is a new type of Ewing-like sarcoma that has a specific genetic signature. These findings have important implications for the differential diagnosis of SRCS.
In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, centromeric heterochromatin is maintained by an RNA-directed RNA polymerase complex (RDRC) and the RNA-induced transcriptional silencing (RITS) complex in a manner that depends on the generation of short interfering RNA. In association with the telomerase RNA component (TERC), the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) forms telomerase and counteracts telomere attrition, and without TERC, TERT has been implicated in the regulation of heterochromatin at locations distinct from telomeres. Here, we describe a complex composed of human TERT (hTERT), Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1), and nucleostemin (NS) that contributes to heterochromatin maintenance at centromeres and transposons. This complex produced double-stranded RNAs homologous to centromeric alpha-satellite (alphoid) repeat elements and transposons that were processed into small interfering RNAs targeted to these heterochromatic regions. These small interfering RNAs promoted heterochromatin assembly and mitotic progression in a manner dependent on the RNA interference machinery. These observations implicate the hTERT/BRG1/NS (TBN) complex in heterochromatin assembly at particular sites in the mammalian genome.
Plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family exhibit species-specific profiles of glucosinolates (GSLs), a class of defence compounds against pathogens and insects. GSLs also exhibit various human health-promoting properties. Among them, glucoraphanin (aliphatic 4-methylsulphinylbutyl GSL) has attracted the most attention because it hydrolyses to form a potent anticancer compound. Increased interest in developing commercial varieties of Brassicaceae crops with desirable GSL profiles has led to attempts to identify genes that are potentially valuable for controlling GSL biosynthesis. However, little attention has been focused on genes of kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala). In this study, we established full-length kale cDNA libraries containing 59 904 clones, which were used to generate an expressed sequence tag (EST) data set with 119 204 entries. The EST data set clarified genes related to the GSL biosynthesis pathway in kale. We specifically focused on BoMYB29, a homolog of Arabidopsis MYB29/PMG2/HAG3, not only to characterize its function but also to demonstrate its usability as a biological resource. BoMYB29 overexpression in wild-type Arabidopsis enhanced the expression of aliphatic GSL biosynthetic genes and the accumulation of aliphatic GSLs. When expressed in the myb28myb29 mutant, which exhibited no detectable aliphatic GSLs, BoMYB29 restored the expression of biosynthetic genes and aliphatic GSL accumulation. Interestingly, the ratio of methylsulphinyl GSL content, including glucoraphanin, to that of methylthio GSLs was greatly increased, indicating the suitability of BoMYB29 as a regulator for increasing methylsulphinyl GSL content. Our results indicate that these biological resources can facilitate further identification of genes useful for modifications of GSL profiles and accumulation in kale.
All cancers are caused by somatic mutations; however, understanding of the biological processes generating these mutations is limited. The catalogue of somatic mutations from a cancer genome bears the signatures of the mutational processes that have been operative. Here we analysed 4,938,362 mutations from 7,042 cancers and extracted more than 20 distinct mutational signatures. Some are present in many cancer types, notably a signature attributed to the APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases, whereas others are confined to a single cancer class. Certain signatures are associated with age of the patient at cancer diagnosis, known mutagenic exposures or defects in DNA maintenance, but many are of cryptic origin. In addition to these genome-wide mutational signatures, hypermutation localized to small genomic regions, kataegis, is found in many cancer types. The results reveal the diversity of mutational processes underlying the development of cancer, with potential implications for understanding of cancer aetiology, prevention and therapy.
The Rubiaceae species, Ophiorrhiza pumila, accumulates camptothecin, an anti-cancer alkaloid with a potent DNA topoisomerase I inhibitory activity, as well as anthraquinones that are derived from the combination of the isochorismate and hemiterpenoid pathways. The biosynthesis of these secondary products is active in O. pumila hairy roots yet very low in cell suspension culture. Deep transcriptome analysis was conducted in O. pumila hairy roots and cell suspension cultures using the Illumina platform, yielding a total of 2 Gb of sequence for each sample. We generated a hybrid transcriptome assembly of O. pumila using the Illumina-derived short read sequences and conventional Sanger-derived expressed sequence tag clones derived from a full-length cDNA library constructed using RNA from hairy roots. Among 35,608 non-redundant unigenes, 3,649 were preferentially expressed in hairy roots compared with cell suspension culture. Candidate genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway for the monoterpenoid indole alkaloid camptothecin were identified; specifically, genes involved in post-strictosamide biosynthetic events and genes involved in the biosynthesis of anthraquinones and chlorogenic acid. Untargeted metabolomic analysis by Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) indicated that most of the proposed intermediates in the camptothecin biosynthetic pathway accumulated in hairy roots in a preferential manner compared with cell suspension culture. In addition, a number of anthraquinones and chlorogenic acid preferentially accumulated in hairy roots compared with cell suspension culture. These results suggest that deep transcriptome and metabolome data sets can facilitate the identification of genes and intermediates involved in the biosynthesis of secondary products including camptothecin in O. pumila.
To obtain a landscape of gross genetic alterations in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), genome-wide copy number analysis and whole-transcriptome sequencing were performed in 58 and 42 SCLCs, respectively. Focal amplification of known oncogene loci, MYCL1 (1p34.2), MYCN (2p24.3), and MYC (8q24.21), was frequently and mutually exclusively detected. MYCL1 and MYC were co-amplified with other regions on either the same or the different chromosome in several cases. In addition, the 9p24.1 region was identified as being amplified in SCLCs without amplification of MYC family oncogenes. Notably, expression of the KIAA1432 gene in this region was significantly higher in KIAA1432 amplified cells than in non-amplified cells, and its mRNA expression showed strong correlations with the copy numbers. Thus, KIAA1432 is a novel gene activated by amplification in SCLCs. By whole-transcriptome sequencing, a total of 60 fusion transcripts, transcribed from 95 different genes, were identified as being expressed in SCLC cells. However, no in-frame fusion transcripts were recurrently detected in ?2 SCLCs, and genes in the amplified regions, such as PVT1 neighboring MYC and RLF in MYCL1 amplicons, were recurrently fused with genes in the same amplicons or with those in different amplicons on either the same or different chromosome. Thus, it was indicated that amplification and fusion of several genes on chromosomes 1 and 8 occur simultaneously but not sequentially through chromothripsis in the development of SCLC, and amplification rather than fusion of genes plays an important role in its development.
Genetic alterations and deregulation of the miRNA biogenesis pathway components have been reported in human tumors. Tissue-specific deletion of the Dicer gene, which encodes an essential miRNA processing enzyme, promotes carcinogenesis in animal models. These features indicate that aberrant miRNA biogenesis components are directly associated with cancer. For the present study, we conducted quantitative RT-PCR of 14 genes that are related to the miRNA biogenesis pathway in 47 paired samples of primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and matched non-cancerous liver. Expression of seven genes (Dgcr8, p68, p72, Dicer, Ago3, Ago4 and Piwil4) was significantly decreased in primary HCC, especially in non-viral HCC subtypes, compared to the non-cancerous liver. Combinations of decreased expression of the miRNA biogenesis components in non-cancerous liver were related to cigarette smoking, alcohol intake and diabetes, which are known to be risk factors for HCC, and were also associated with the occurrence of multicentric tumors. Reduction of two of these genes (Dicer and p68) in HCC was associated with poor prognosis. Trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 in the promoters is implicated in the deregulation of these miRNA-biogenesis-related genes in non-HBV genome integrated HCC cell lines. In conclusion, deregulation of the miRNA biogenesis pathway components is frequently observed in non-viral-associated HCC and is linked to etiological risk factors and poor prognosis. Our study further showed that epigenetic regulation could be implicated in the deregulation of these genes during hepatocarcinogenesis.
Genetic rearrangement of the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase was recently identified as a distinct molecular signature for human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, direct evidence of lung carcinogenesis induced by ROS1 fusion genes remains to be verified. The present study shows that EZR-ROS1 plays an essential role in the oncogenesis of NSCLC harboring the fusion gene. EZR-ROS1 was identified in four female patients of lung adenocarcinoma. Three of them were never smokers. Interstitial deletion of 6q22-q25 resulted in gene fusion. Expression of the fusion kinase in NIH3T3 cells induced anchorage-independent growth in vitro, and subcutaneous tumors in nude mice. This transforming ability was attributable to its kinase activity. The ALK/MET/ROS1 kinase inhibitor, crizotinib, suppressed fusion-induced anchorage-independent growth of NIH3T3 cells. Most importantly, established transgenic mouse lines specifically expressing EZR-ROS1 in lung alveolar epithelial cells developed multiple adenocarcinoma nodules in both lungs at an early age. These data suggest that the EZR-ROS1 is a pivotal oncogene in human NSCLC, and that this animal model could be valuable for exploring therapeutic agents against ROS1-rearranged lung cancer.
Mammalian development is strongly influenced by the epigenetic phenomenon called genomic imprinting, in which either the paternal or the maternal allele of imprinted genes is expressed. Paternally expressed Xist, an imprinted gene, has been considered as a single cis-acting factor to inactivate the paternally inherited X chromosome (Xp) in preimplantation mouse embryos. This means that X-chromosome inactivation also entails gene imprinting at a very early developmental stage. However, the precise mechanism of imprinted X-chromosome inactivation remains unknown and there is little information about imprinted genes on X chromosomes. In this study, we examined whether there are other imprinted genes than Xist expressed from the inactive paternal X chromosome and expressed in female embryos at the preimplantation stage. We focused on small RNAs and compared their expression patterns between sexes by tagging the female X chromosome with green fluorescent protein. As a result, we identified two micro (mi)RNAs-miR-374-5p and miR-421-3p-mapped adjacent to Xist that were predominantly expressed in female blastocysts. Allelic expression analysis revealed that these miRNAs were indeed imprinted and expressed from the Xp. Further analysis of the imprinting status of adjacent locus led to the discovery of a large cluster of imprinted genes expressed from the Xp: Jpx, Ftx and Zcchc13. To our knowledge, this is the first identified cluster of imprinted genes in the cis-acting regulatory region termed the X-inactivation center. This finding may help in understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating imprinted X-chromosome inactivation during early mammalian development.
Whole-exome sequencing (Exome-seq) has been successfully applied in several recent studies. We here sequenced the exomes of 15 pancreatic tumor cell lines and their matched normal samples. We captured 162,073 exons of 16,954 genes and sequenced the targeted regions to a mean coverage of 56-fold. This study identified a total of 1517 somatic mutations and validated 934 mutations by transcriptome sequencing. We detected recurrent mutations in 56 genes. Among them, 41 have not been described. The mutation rates varied widely among cell lines. The diversity of the mutation rates was significantly correlated with the distinct MLH1 copy-number status. Exome-seq revealed intensive genomic instability in a cell line with MLH1 homozygous deletion, indicated by a dramatically elevated rate of somatic substitutions, small insertions/deletions (indels), as well as indels in microsatellites. Notably, we found that MLH1 expression was decreased by nearly half in cell lines with an allelic loss of MLH1. While these cell lines were negative in conventional microsatellite instability assay, they showed a 10.5-fold increase in the rate of somatic indels, e.g., truncating indels in TP53 and TGFBR2, indicating MLH1 haploinsufficiency in the correction of DNA indel errors. We further analyzed the exomes of 15 renal cell carcinomas and confirmed MLH1 haploinsufficiency. We observed a much higher rate of indel mutations in the affected cases and identified recurrent truncating indels in several cancer genes such as VHL, PBRM1, and JARID1C. Together, our data suggest that MLH1 hemizygous deletion, through increasing the rate of indel mutations, could drive the development and progression of sporadic cancers.
Genomic imprinting causes parental origin-specific monoallelic gene expression through differential DNA methylation established in the parental germ line. However, the mechanisms underlying how specific sequences are selectively methylated are not fully understood. We have found that the components of the PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway are required for de novo methylation of the differentially methylated region (DMR) of the imprinted mouse Rasgrf1 locus, but not other paternally imprinted loci. A retrotransposon sequence within a noncoding RNA spanning the DMR was targeted by piRNAs generated from a different locus. A direct repeat in the DMR, which is required for the methylation and imprinting of Rasgrf1, served as a promoter for this RNA. We propose a model in which piRNAs and a target RNA direct the sequence-specific methylation of Rasgrf1.
Small RNAs derived from repetitive sequences appear to play essential roles in mammalian gametogenesis and early development. In this study we focused on the short interspersed nucleotide element B1 (SINE/B1) small RNAs, which were zygotically expressed in pre-implantation mouse embryos; and we investigated whether the SINE/B1 small RNAs played an active role in gene silencing during early mouse development. The results indicated that the level of silencing activity involving the SINE/B1 small RNAs as mediators was significantly reduced in Dicer-knockdown mouse embryos. In addition, when the SINE/B1 small RNAs were mapped to a full-length SINE/B1 sequence, phase-distribution of the small RNAs appeared, suggesting possible enzymatic involvement. Therefore, our present study suggested that the zygotically expressed SINE/B1 small RNAs in pre-implantation mouse embryos contain active small RNAs, which were presumably processed by Dicer and involved in gene silencing.
MITOPLD is a member of the phospholipase D superfamily proteins conserved among diverse species. Zucchini (Zuc), the Drosophila homolog of MITOPLD, has been implicated in primary biogenesis of Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). By contrast, MITOPLD has been shown to hydrolyze cardiolipin in the outer membrane of mitochondria to generate phosphatidic acid, which is a signaling molecule. To assess whether the mammalian MITOPLD is involved in piRNA biogenesis, we generated Mitopld mutant mice. The mice display meiotic arrest during spermatogenesis, demethylation and derepression of retrotransposons, and defects in primary piRNA biogenesis. Furthermore, in mutant germ cells, mitochondria and the components of the nuage, a perinuclear structure involved in piRNA biogenesis/function, are mislocalized to regions around the centrosome, suggesting that MITOPLD may be involved in microtubule-dependent localization of mitochondria and these proteins. Our results indicate a conserved role for MITOPLD/Zuc in the piRNA pathway and link mitochondrial membrane metabolism/signaling to small RNA biogenesis.
Hepatocellular carcinoma, one of the most common virus-associated cancers, is the third most frequent cause of cancer-related death worldwide. By massively parallel sequencing of a primary hepatitis C virus-positive hepatocellular carcinoma (36× coverage) and matched lymphocytes (>28× coverage) from the same individual, we identified more than 11,000 somatic substitutions of the tumor genome that showed predominance of T>C/A>G transition and a decrease of the T>C substitution on the transcribed strand, suggesting preferential DNA repair. Gene annotation enrichment analysis of 63 validated non-synonymous substitutions revealed enrichment of phosphoproteins. We further validated 22 chromosomal rearrangements, generating four fusion transcripts that had altered transcriptional regulation (BCORL1-ELF4) or promoter activity. Whole-exome sequencing at a higher sequence depth (>76× coverage) revealed a TSC1 nonsense substitution in a subpopulation of the tumor cells. This first high-resolution characterization of a virus-associated cancer genome identified previously uncharacterized mutation patterns, intra-chromosomal rearrangements and fusion genes, as well as genetic heterogeneity within the tumor.
VASA is an evolutionarily conserved RNA helicase essential for germ cell development. The mouse PIWI family proteins MILI and MIWI2 are involved in production of Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in fetal male germ cells through a ping-pong amplification cycle. Expression of retrotransposons is elevated in MILI- and MIWI2-deficient male germ cells due to defective de novo DNA methylation, which is presumably caused by impaired piRNA expression. Here, we report that essentially the same abnormalities are observed in MVH (mouse VASA homolog)-deficient mice. Comprehensive analysis of piRNAs in MVH-deficient fetal male germ cells showed that MVH plays crucial roles in the early phase of the ping-pong amplification cycle.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
Recent studies showed that small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) in mammalian germ cells play important roles in retrotransposon silencing and gametogenesis. However, subsequent contribution of those small RNAs to early mammalian development remains poorly understood. We investigated the expression profiles of small RNAs in mouse metaphase II oocytes, 8-16-cell stage embryos, blastocysts and the pluripotent inner cell mass (ICM) using high-throughput pyrosequencing. Here, we show that during pre-implantation development a major small RNA class changes from retrotransposon-derived small RNAs containing siRNAs and piRNAs to zygotically synthesized microRNAs (miRNAs). Some siRNAs and piRNAs are transiently upregulated and directed against specific retrotransposon classes. We also identified miRNAs expression profiles characteristic of the ICM and trophectoderm (TE) cells. Taken together, our current study reveals a major reprogramming of functional small RNAs during early mouse development from oocyte to blastocyst.
Wheat is an allopolyploid plant that harbors a huge, complex genome. Therefore, accumulation of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for wheat is becoming particularly important for functional genomics and molecular breeding. We prepared a comprehensive collection of ESTs from the various tissues that develop during the wheat life cycle and from tissues subjected to stress. We also examined their expression profiles in silico. As full-length cDNAs are indispensable to certify the collected ESTs and annotate the genes in the wheat genome, we performed a systematic survey and sequencing of the full-length cDNA clones. This sequence information is a valuable genetic resource for functional genomics and will enable carrying out comparative genomics in cereals.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. We sequenced and analyzed the whole genomes of 27 HCCs, 25 of which were associated with hepatitis B or C virus infections, including two sets of multicentric tumors. Although no common somatic mutations were identified in the multicentric tumor pairs, their whole-genome substitution patterns were similar, suggesting that these tumors developed from independent mutations, although their shared etiological backgrounds may have strongly influenced their somatic mutation patterns. Statistical and functional analyses yielded a list of recurrently mutated genes. Multiple chromatin regulators, including ARID1A, ARID1B, ARID2, MLL and MLL3, were mutated in ?50% of the tumors. Hepatitis B virus genome integration in the TERT locus was frequently observed in a high clonal proportion. Our whole-genome sequencing analysis of HCCs identified the influence of etiological background on somatic mutation patterns and subsequent carcinogenesis, as well as recurrent mutations in chromatin regulators in HCCs.
We identified in-frame fusion transcripts of KIF5B (the kinesin family 5B gene) and the RET oncogene, which are present in 1-2% of lung adenocarcinomas (LADCs) from people from Japan and the United States, using whole-transcriptome sequencing. The KIF5B-RET fusion leads to aberrant activation of RET kinase and is considered to be a new driver mutation of LADC because it segregates from mutations or fusions in EGFR, KRAS, HER2 and ALK, and a RET tyrosine kinase inhibitor, vandetanib, suppresses the fusion-induced anchorage-independent growth activity of NIH3T3 cells.
Cholangiocarcinoma is an intractable cancer, with limited therapeutic options, in which the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor development remain poorly understood. Identification of novel driver oncogene and applying to targeted therapies for molecularly defined cancers might lead to improvements in outcomes of patients. We performed massively-parallel whole transcriptome sequencing in eight specimens from cholangiocarcinoma patients without KRAS/BRAF/ROS1 alterations, and identified two fusion kinase genes, FGFR2-AHCYL1 and FGFR2-BICC1. In reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening, the FGFR2 fusion was detected in 9 patients with cholangiocarcinoma (9/102), exclusively in the intrahepatic subtype (9/66, 13.6%), rarely in colorectal (1/149) and hepatocellular carcinoma (1/96), and none in gastric cancer (0/212). The rearrangements were mutually exclusive with KRAS/BRAF mutations. Expression of the fusion kinases in NIH3T3 cells activated MAPK, and conferred anchorage-independent growth and in vivo tumorigenesis of subcutaneous transplanted cells in immune-compromised mice. This transforming ability was attributable to its kinase activity. Treatment with FGFR kinase inhibitors, BGJ398 and PD173074 effectively suppressed transformation.
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