ABSTRACT: The chromothripsis hypothesis suggests an extraordinary one-step catastrophic genomic event allowing a chromosome to 'shatter into many pieces' and reassemble into a functioning chromosome. Recent efforts have aimed to detect chromothripsis by looking for a genomic signature, characterized by a large number of breakpoints (50-250), but a limited number of oscillating copy number states (2-3) confined to a few chromosomes. The chromothripsis phenomenon has become widely reported in different cancers, but using inconsistent and sometimes relaxed criteria for determining rearrangements occur simultaneously rather than progressively. We revisit the original simulation approach and show that the signature is not clearly exceptional, and can be explained using only progressive rearrangements. For example, 3.9% of progressively simulated chromosomes with 50-55 breakpoints were dominated by two or three copy number states. In addition, by adjusting the parameters of the simulation, the proposed footprint appears more frequently. Lastly, we provide an algorithm to find a sequence of progressive rearrangements that explains all observed breakpoints from a proposed chromothripsis chromosome. Thus, the proposed signature cannot be considered a sufficient proof for this extraordinary hypothesis. Great caution should be exercised when labeling complex rearrangements as chromothripsis from genome hybridization and sequencing experiments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Structural rearrangements form a major class of somatic variation in cancer genomes. Local chromosome shattering, termed chromothripsis, is a mechanism proposed to be the cause of clustered chromosomal rearrangements and was recently described to occur in a small percentage of tumors. The significance of these clusters for tumor development or metastatic spread is largely unclear. RESULTS:We used genome-wide long mate-pair sequencing and SNP array profiling to reveal that chromothripsis is a widespread phenomenon in primary colorectal cancer and metastases. We find large and small chromothripsis events in nearly every colorectal tumor sample and show that several breakpoints of chromothripsis clusters and isolated rearrangements affect cancer genes, including NOTCH2, EXO1 and MLL3. We complemented the structural variation studies by sequencing the coding regions of a cancer exome in all colorectal tumor samples and found somatic mutations in 24 genes, including APC, KRAS, SMAD4 and PIK3CA. A pairwise comparison of somatic variations in primary and metastatic samples indicated that many chromothripsis clusters, isolated rearrangements and point mutations are exclusively present in either the primary tumor or the metastasis and may affect cancer genes in a lesion-specific manner. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that chromothripsis is a prevalent mechanism driving structural rearrangements in colorectal cancer and show that a complex interplay between point mutations, simple copy number changes and chromothripsis events drive colorectal tumor development and metastasis.
Project description:Complex genomic rearrangements (CGRs) consisting of two or more breakpoint junctions have been observed in genomic disorders. Recently, a chromosome catastrophe phenomenon termed chromothripsis, in which numerous genomic rearrangements are apparently acquired in one single catastrophic event, was described in multiple cancers. Here, we show that constitutionally acquired CGRs share similarities with cancer chromothripsis. In the 17 CGR cases investigated, we observed localization and multiple copy number changes including deletions, duplications, and/or triplications, as well as extensive translocations and inversions. Genomic rearrangements involved varied in size and complexities; in one case, array comparative genomic hybridization revealed 18 copy number changes. Breakpoint sequencing identified characteristic features, including small templated insertions at breakpoints and microhomology at breakpoint junctions, which have been attributed to replicative processes. The resemblance between CGR and chromothripsis suggests similar mechanistic underpinnings. Such chromosome catastrophic events appear to reflect basic DNA metabolism operative throughout an organism's life cycle.
Project description:Chromothripsis represents an extreme class of complex chromosome rearrangements (CCRs) with major effects on chromosomal architecture. Although recent studies have associated chromothripsis with congenital abnormalities, the incidence and pathogenic effects of this phenomenon require further investigation. Here, we analyzed the genomes of three families in which chromothripsis rearrangements were transmitted from a mother to her child. The chromothripsis in the mothers resulted in completely balanced rearrangements involving 8-23 breakpoint junctions across three to five chromosomes. Two mothers did not show any phenotypic abnormalities, although 3-13 protein-coding genes were affected by breakpoints. Unbalanced but stable transmission of a subset of the derivative chromosomes caused apparently de novo complex copy-number changes in two children. This resulted in gene-dosage changes, which are probably responsible for the severe congenital phenotypes of these two children. In contrast, the third child, who has a severe congenital disease, harbored all three chromothripsis chromosomes from his healthy mother, but one of the chromosomes acquired de novo rearrangements leading to copy-number changes. These results show that the human genome can tolerate extreme reshuffling of chromosomal architecture, including breakage of multiple protein-coding genes, without noticeable phenotypic effects. The presence of chromothripsis in healthy individuals affects reproduction and is expected to substantially increase the risk of miscarriages, abortions, and severe congenital disease.
Project description:Genomic rearrangements are thought to occur progressively during tumor development. Recent findings, however, suggest an alternative mechanism, involving massive chromosome rearrangements in a one-step catastrophic event termed chromothripsis. We report the whole-genome sequencing-based analysis of a Sonic-Hedgehog medulloblastoma (SHH-MB) brain tumor from a patient with a germline TP53 mutation (Li-Fraumeni syndrome), uncovering massive, complex chromosome rearrangements. Integrating TP53 status with microarray and deep sequencing-based DNA rearrangement data in additional patients reveals a striking association between TP53 mutation and chromothripsis in SHH-MBs. Analysis of additional tumor entities substantiates a link between TP53 mutation and chromothripsis, and indicates a context-specific role for p53 in catastrophic DNA rearrangements. Among these, we observed a strong association between somatic TP53 mutations and chromothripsis in acute myeloid leukemia. These findings connect p53 status and chromothripsis in specific tumor types, providing a genetic basis for understanding particularly aggressive subtypes of cancer.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer of the peripheral nervous system in which structural chromosome aberrations are emblematic of aggressive tumors. In this study, we performed an in-depth analysis of somatic rearrangements in two neuroblastoma cell lines and two primary tumors using paired-end sequencing of mate-pair libraries and RNA-seq. The cell lines presented with typical genetic alterations of neuroblastoma and the two tumors belong to the group of neuroblastoma exhibiting a profile of chromothripsis. Inter and intra-chromosomal rearrangements were identified in the four samples, allowing in particular characterization of unbalanced translocations at high resolution. Using complementary experiments, we further characterized 51 rearrangements at the base pair resolution that revealed 59 DNA junctions. In a subset of cases, complex rearrangements were observed with templated insertion of fragments of nearby sequences. Although we did not identify known particular motifs in the local environment of the breakpoints, we documented frequent microhomologies at the junctions in both chromothripsis and non-chromothripsis associated breakpoints. RNA-seq experiments confirmed expression of several predicted chimeric genes and genes with disrupted exon structure including ALK, NBAS, FHIT, PTPRD and ODZ4. Our study therefore indicates that both non-homologous end joining-mediated repair and replicative processes may account for genomic rearrangements in neuroblastoma. RNA-seq analysis allows the identification of the subset of abnormal transcripts expressed from genomic rearrangements that may be involved in neuroblastoma oncogenesis.
Project description:Unbalanced translocations are a relatively common type of copy number variation and a major contributor to neurodevelopmental disorders. We analyzed the breakpoints of 57 unique unbalanced translocations to investigate the mechanisms of how they form. Fifty-one are simple unbalanced translocations between two different chromosome ends, and six rearrangements have more than three breakpoints involving two to five chromosomes. Sequencing 37 breakpoint junctions revealed that simple translocations have between 0 and 4 base pairs (bp) of microhomology (n = 26), short inserted sequences (n = 8), or paralogous repeats (n = 3) at the junctions, indicating that translocations do not arise primarily from nonallelic homologous recombination but instead form most often via nonhomologous end joining or microhomology-mediated break-induced replication. Three simple translocations fuse genes that are predicted to produce in-frame transcripts of SIRPG-WWOX, SMOC2-PROX1, and PIEZO2-MTA1, which may lead to gain of function. Three complex translocations have inversions, insertions, and multiple breakpoint junctions between only two chromosomes. Whole-genome sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of two de novo translocations revealed at least 18 and 33 breakpoints involving five different chromosomes. Breakpoint sequencing of one maternally inherited translocation involving four chromosomes uncovered multiple breakpoints with inversions and insertions. All of these breakpoint junctions had 0-4 bp of microhomology consistent with chromothripsis, and both de novo events occurred on paternal alleles. Together with other studies, these data suggest that germline chromothripsis arises in the paternal genome and may be transmitted maternally. Breakpoint sequencing of our large collection of chromosome rearrangements provides a comprehensive analysis of the molecular mechanisms behind translocation formation.
Project description:Genome sequencing has uncovered a new mutational phenomenon in cancer and congenital disorders called chromothripsis. Chromothripsis is characterized by extensive genomic rearrangements and an oscillating pattern of DNA copy number levels, all curiously restricted to one or a few chromosomes. The mechanism for chromothripsis is unknown, but we previously proposed that it could occur through the physical isolation of chromosomes in aberrant nuclear structures called micronuclei. Here, using a combination of live cell imaging and single-cell genome sequencing, we demonstrate that micronucleus formation can indeed generate a spectrum of genomic rearrangements, some of which recapitulate all known features of chromothripsis. These events are restricted to the mis-segregated chromosome and occur within one cell division. We demonstrate that the mechanism for chromothripsis can involve the fragmentation and subsequent reassembly of a single chromatid from a micronucleus. Collectively, these experiments establish a new mutational process of which chromothripsis is one extreme outcome.
Project description:Germline chromothripsis causes complex genomic rearrangements that are likely to affect multiple genes and their regulatory contexts. The contribution of individual rearrangements and affected genes to the phenotypes of patients with complex germline genomic rearrangements is generally unknown.To dissect the impact of germline chromothripsis in a relevant developmental context, we performed trio-based RNA expression analysis on blood cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and iPSC-derived neuronal cells from a patient with de novo germline chromothripsis and both healthy parents. In addition, Hi-C and 4C-seq experiments were performed to determine the effects of the genomic rearrangements on transcription regulation of genes in the proximity of the breakpoint junctions.Sixty-seven genes are located within 1 Mb of the complex chromothripsis rearrangements involving 17 breakpoints on four chromosomes. We find that three of these genes (FOXP1, DPYD, and TWIST1) are both associated with developmental disorders and differentially expressed in the patient. Interestingly, the effect on TWIST1 expression was exclusively detectable in the patient's iPSC-derived neuronal cells, stressing the need for studying developmental disorders in the biologically relevant context. Chromosome conformation capture analyses show that TWIST1 lost genomic interactions with several enhancers due to the chromothripsis event, which likely led to deregulation of TWIST1 expression and contributed to the patient's craniosynostosis phenotype.We demonstrate that a combination of patient-derived iPSC differentiation and trio-based molecular profiling is a powerful approach to improve the interpretation of pathogenic complex genomic rearrangements. Here we have applied this approach to identify misexpression of TWIST1, FOXP1, and DPYD as key contributors to the complex congenital phenotype resulting from germline chromothripsis rearrangements.
Project description:Structural rearrangements form a major class of somatic variation in cancer genomes. Local chromosome shattering, termed chromothripsis, is a mechanism proposed to be the cause of clustered chromosomal rearrangements and was recently described to occur in a small percentage of tumors. The significance of these clusters for tumor development or metastatic spread is largely unclear. We used genome-wide long mate-pair sequencing and SNP array profiling to reveal that chromothripsis is a widespread phenomenon in primary colorectal cancer and metastases. We find large and small chromothripsis events in nearly every colorectal tumor sample and show that several breakpoints of chromothripsis clusters and isolated rearrangements affect cancer genes, including NOTCH2, EXO1 and MLL3. We complemented the structural variation studies by sequencing the coding regions of a cancer exome in all colorectal tumor samples and found somatic mutations in 24 genes, including APC, KRAS, SMAD4 and PIK3CA. A pairwise comparison of somatic variations in primary and metastatic samples indicated that in many chromothripsis clusters, isolated rearrangements and point mutations are exclusively present in either the primary tumor or the metastasis and may affect cancer genes in a lesion-specific manner. We conclude that chromothripsis is a prevalent mechanism driving structural rearrangements in colorectal cancer and show that a complex interplay between point mutations, simple copy number changes and chromothripsis events drive colorectal tumor development and metastasis. We analyzed 16 tissue samples from four patients. For each patient we analyzed the DNA of a primary colon tumor sample, a normal colon tissue sample, a metastatic liver tumor sample and a normal liver tissue sample. The normal colon and normal liver samples serve as a control for the primary and metastatic tumor samples.
Project description:Moebius syndrome (MBS) is a congenital disorder caused by paralysis of the facial and abducens nerves. Although a number of candidate genes have been suspected, so far only mutations in PLXND1 and REV3L are confirmed to cause MBS. Here, we fine mapped the breakpoints of a complex chromosomal rearrangement (CCR) 46,XY,t(7;8;11;13) in a patient with MBS, which revealed 41 clustered breakpoints with typical hallmarks of chromothripsis. Among 12 truncated protein-coding genes, SEMA3A is known to bind to the MBS-associated PLXND1. Intriguingly, the CCR also truncated PIK3CG, which in silico interacts with REVL3 encoded by the other known MBS-gene REV3L, and with the SEMA3A/PLXND1 complex via FLT1. Additional studies of other complex rearrangements may reveal whether the multiple breakpoints in germline chromothripsis may predispose to complex multigenic disorders.