C. elegans whole-genome sequencing reveals mutational signatures related to carcinogens and DNA repair deficiency.
ABSTRACT: Mutation is associated with developmental and hereditary disorders, aging, and cancer. While we understand some mutational processes operative in human disease, most remain mysterious. We used Caenorhabditis elegans whole-genome sequencing to model mutational signatures, analyzing 183 worm populations across 17 DNA repair-deficient backgrounds propagated for 20 generations or exposed to carcinogens. The baseline mutation rate in C. elegans was approximately one per genome per generation, not overtly altered across several DNA repair deficiencies over 20 generations. Telomere erosion led to complex chromosomal rearrangements initiated by breakage-fusion-bridge cycles and completed by simultaneously acquired, localized clusters of breakpoints. Aflatoxin B1 induced substitutions of guanines in a GpC context, as observed in aflatoxin-induced liver cancers. Mutational burden increased with impaired nucleotide excision repair. Cisplatin and mechlorethamine, DNA crosslinking agents, caused dose- and genotype-dependent signatures among indels, substitutions, and rearrangements. Strikingly, both agents induced clustered rearrangements resembling "chromoanasynthesis," a replication-based mutational signature seen in constitutional genomic disorders, suggesting that interstrand crosslinks may play a pathogenic role in such events. Cisplatin mutagenicity was most pronounced in xpf-1 mutants, suggesting that this gene critically protects cells against platinum chemotherapy. Thus, experimental model systems combined with genome sequencing can recapture and mechanistically explain mutational signatures associated with human disease.
Project description:Cells possess an armamentarium of DNA repair pathways to counter DNA damage and prevent mutation. Here we use C. elegans whole genome sequencing to systematically quantify the contributions of these factors to mutational signatures. We analyse 2,717 genomes from wild-type and 53 DNA repair defective backgrounds, exposed to 11 genotoxins, including UV-B and ionizing radiation, alkylating compounds, aristolochic acid, aflatoxin B1, and cisplatin. Combined genotoxic exposure and DNA repair deficiency alters mutation rates or signatures in 41% of experiments, revealing how different DNA alterations induced by the same genotoxin are mended by separate repair pathways. Error-prone translesion synthesis causes the majority of genotoxin-induced base substitutions, but averts larger deletions. Nucleotide excision repair prevents up to 99% of point mutations, almost uniformly across the mutation spectrum. Our data show that mutational signatures are joint products of DNA damage and repair and suggest that multiple factors underlie signatures observed in cancer genomes.
Project description:Chromoanasynthesis is a recently discovered phenomenon in humans with congenital diseases that is characterized by complex genomic rearrangements (CGRs) resulting from aberrant repair of catastrophic chromosomal damage. How these CGRs are induced is not known. Here, we describe the structure and function of dpDp667, a causative CGR that emerged from a Caenorhabditis elegans dauer suppressor screen in which animals were treated with the point mutagen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU). dpDp667 comprises nearly 3 Mb of sequence on the right arm of the X chromosome, contains three duplications and one triplication, and is devoid of deletions. Sequences from three out of the four breakpoint junctions in dpDp667 reveal microhomologies that are hallmarks of chromoanasynthetic CGRs. Our findings suggest that environmental insults and physiological processes that cause point mutations may give rise to chromoanasynthetic rearrangements associated with congenital disease. The relatively subtle phenotype of animals harboring dpDp667 suggests that the prevalence of CGRs in the genomes of mutant and/or phenotypically unremarkable animals may be grossly underestimated.
Project description:Chromothripsis and chromoanasynthesis are catastrophic events leading to clustered genomic rearrangements. Whole-genome sequencing revealed frequent complex genomic rearrangements (n?=?16/26) in brain tumors developing in mice deficient for factors involved in homologous-recombination-repair or non-homologous-end-joining. Catastrophic events were tightly linked to Myc/Mycn amplification, with increased DNA damage and inefficient apoptotic response already observable at early postnatal stages. Inhibition of repair processes and comparison of the mouse tumors with human medulloblastomas (n?=?68) and glioblastomas (n?=?32) identified chromothripsis as associated with MYC/MYCN gains and with DNA repair deficiencies, pointing towards therapeutic opportunities to target DNA repair defects in tumors with complex genomic rearrangements.
Project description:Throughout their lifetime, cells are subject to extrinsic and intrinsic mutational processes leaving behind characteristic signatures in the genome. DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency leads to hypermutation and is found in different cancer types. Although it is possible to associate mutational signatures extracted from human cancers with possible mutational processes, the exact causation is often unknown. Here, we use C. elegans genome sequencing of pms-2 and mlh-1 knockouts to reveal the mutational patterns linked to C. elegans MMR deficiency and their dependency on endogenous replication errors and errors caused by deletion of the polymerase ε subunit pole-4 Signature extraction from 215 human colorectal and 289 gastric adenocarcinomas revealed three MMR-associated signatures, one of which closely resembles the C. elegans MMR spectrum and strongly discriminates microsatellite stable and unstable tumors (AUC = 98%). A characteristic difference between human and C. elegans MMR deficiency is the lack of elevated levels of NCG > NTG mutations in C. elegans, likely caused by the absence of cytosine (CpG) methylation in worms. The other two human MMR signatures may reflect the interaction between MMR deficiency and other mutagenic processes, but their exact cause remains unknown. In summary, combining information from genetically defined models and cancer samples allows for better aligning mutational signatures to causal mutagenic processes.
Project description:Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is an aggressive mesenchymal malignancy with few therapeutic options. The mechanisms underlying LMS development, including clinically actionable genetic vulnerabilities, are largely unknown. Here we show, using whole-exome and transcriptome sequencing, that LMS tumors are characterized by substantial mutational heterogeneity, near-universal inactivation of TP53 and RB1, widespread DNA copy number alterations including chromothripsis, and frequent whole-genome duplication. Furthermore, we detect alternative telomere lengthening in 78% of cases and identify recurrent alterations in telomere maintenance genes such as ATRX, RBL2, and SP100, providing insight into the genetic basis of this mechanism. Finally, most tumors display hallmarks of "BRCAness", including alterations in homologous recombination DNA repair genes, multiple structural rearrangements, and enrichment of specific mutational signatures, and cultured LMS cells are sensitive towards olaparib and cisplatin. This comprehensive study of LMS genomics has uncovered key biological features that may inform future experimental research and enable the design of novel therapies.
Project description:Chromothripsis and chromoanasynthesis are one-off catastrophic events leading to clustered genomic rearrangements. Expression profiling were performed on brain tissues with Medulloblastoma (n=9) and normal Cerebellum (n=4) to compare the expression of Double strain break DNA repair pathways. Overall design: Chromothripsis or chromoanasynthesis were frequently observed in brain tumors in mice deficient for Homologous-Recombination-Repair or Non-Homologous-End-Joining factors. Expression profiling were performed on brain tissues with Medulloblastoma (n=9) and normal Cerebellum (n=4) to compare the expression of Double strain break DNA repair pathways.
Project description:Abstract Although not all somatic mutations are cancer drivers, their mutational signatures, i.e. the patterns of genomic alterations at a genome-wide scale, provide insights into past exposure to mutagens, DNA damage and repair processes. Computational deconvolution of somatic mutation patterns and expert curation pan-cancer studies have identified a number of mutational signatures associated with point mutations, dinucleotide substitutions, insertions and deletions, and rearrangements, and have established etiologies for a subset of these signatures. However, the mechanisms underlying nearly one-third of all mutational signatures are not yet understood. The signatures with established etiology and those with hitherto unknown origin appear to have some differences in strand bias, GC content and nucleotide context diversity. It is possible that some of the hitherto ‘unknown’ signatures predominantly occur outside gene regions. While nucleotide contexts might be adequate to establish etiologies of some mutational signatures, in other cases additional features, such as broader (epi)genomic contexts, including chromatin, replication timing, processivity and local mutational patterns, may help fully understand the underlying DNA damage and repair processes. Nonetheless, remarkable progress in characterization of mutational signatures has provided fundamental insights into the biology of cancer, informed disease etiology and opened up new opportunities for cancer prevention, risk management, and therapeutic decision making.
Project description:Chromosomal insertions are genomic rearrangements with a chromosome segment inserted into a non-homologous chromosome or a non-adjacent locus on the same chromosome or the other homologue, constituting ~2% of nonrecurrent copy-number gains. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms of their formation. We identified 16 individuals with complex insertions among 56,000 individuals tested at Baylor Genetics using clinical array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Custom high-density aCGH was performed on 10 individuals with available DNA, and breakpoint junctions were fine-mapped at nucleotide resolution by long-range PCR and DNA sequencing in 6 individuals to glean insights into potential mechanisms of formation. We observed microhomologies and templated insertions at the breakpoint junctions, resembling the breakpoint junction signatures found in complex genomic rearrangements generated by replication-based mechanism(s) with iterative template switches. In addition, we analyzed 5 families with apparently balanced insertion in one parent detected by FISH analysis and found that 3 parents had additional small copy-number variants (CNVs) at one or both sides of the inserting fragments as well as at the inserted sites. We propose that replicative repair can result in interchromosomal complex insertions generated through chromothripsis-like chromoanasynthesis involving two or three chromosomes, and cause a significant fraction of apparently balanced insertions harboring small flanking CNVs.
Project description:All cancers carry somatic mutations. The patterns of mutation in cancer genomes reflect the DNA damage and repair processes to which cancer cells and their precursors have been exposed. To explore these mechanisms further, we generated catalogs of somatic mutation from 21 breast cancers and applied mathematical methods to extract mutational signatures of the underlying processes. Multiple distinct single- and double-nucleotide substitution signatures were discernible. Cancers with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations exhibited a characteristic combination of substitution mutation signatures and a distinctive profile of deletions. Complex relationships between somatic mutation prevalence and transcription were detected. A remarkable phenomenon of localized hypermutation, termed "kataegis," was observed. Regions of kataegis differed between cancers but usually colocalized with somatic rearrangements. Base substitutions in these regions were almost exclusively of cytosine at TpC dinucleotides. The mechanisms underlying most of these mutational signatures are unknown. However, a role for the APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases is proposed.
Project description:We analysed whole-genome sequences of 560 breast cancers to advance understanding of the driver mutations conferring clonal advantage and the mutational processes generating somatic mutations. We found that 93 protein-coding cancer genes carried probable driver mutations. Some non-coding regions exhibited high mutation frequencies, but most have distinctive structural features probably causing elevated mutation rates and do not contain driver mutations. Mutational signature analysis was extended to genome rearrangements and revealed twelve base substitution and six rearrangement signatures. Three rearrangement signatures, characterized by tandem duplications or deletions, appear associated with defective homologous-recombination-based DNA repair: one with deficient BRCA1 function, another with deficient BRCA1 or BRCA2 function, the cause of the third is unknown. This analysis of all classes of somatic mutation across exons, introns and intergenic regions highlights the repertoire of cancer genes and mutational processes operating, and progresses towards a comprehensive account of the somatic genetic basis of breast cancer.