Contrasting Determinants of Mutation Rates in Germline and Soma.
ABSTRACT: Recent studies of somatic and germline mutations have led to the identification of a number of factors that influence point mutation rates, including CpG methylation, expression levels, replication timing, and GC content. Intriguingly, some of the effects appear to differ between soma and germline: in particular, whereas mutation rates have been reported to decrease with expression levels in tumors, no clear effect has been detected in the germline. Distinct approaches were taken to analyze the data, however, so it is hard to know whether these apparent differences are real. To enable a cleaner comparison, we considered a statistical model in which the mutation rate of a coding region is predicted by GC content, expression levels, replication timing, and two histone repressive marks. We applied this model to both a set of germline mutations identified in exomes and to exonic somatic mutations in four types of tumors. Most determinants of mutations are shared: notably, we detected an effect of expression levels on both germline and somatic mutation rates. Moreover, in all tissues considered, higher expression levels are associated with greater strand asymmetry of mutations. However, mutation rates increase with expression levels in testis (and, more tentatively, in ovary), whereas they decrease with expression levels in somatic tissues. This contrast points to differences in damage or repair rates during transcription in soma and germline.
Project description:The origin of the germline-soma distinction is a fundamental unsolved question. Plants and basal metazoans do not have a germline but generate gametes from pluripotent stem cells in somatic tissues (somatic gametogenesis). In contrast, most bilaterians sequester a dedicated germline early in development. We develop an evolutionary model which shows that selection for mitochondrial quality drives germline evolution. In organisms with low mitochondrial replication error rates, segregation of mutations over multiple cell divisions generates variation, allowing selection to optimize gamete quality through somatic gametogenesis. Higher mutation rates promote early germline sequestration. We also consider how oogamy (a large female gamete packed with mitochondria) alters selection on the germline. Oogamy is beneficial as it reduces mitochondrial segregation in early development, improving adult fitness by restricting variation between tissues. But it also limits variation between early-sequestered oocytes, undermining gamete quality. Oocyte variation is restored through proliferation of germline cells, producing more germ cells than strictly needed, explaining the random culling (atresia) of precursor cells in bilaterians. Unlike other models of germline evolution, selection for mitochondrial quality can explain the stability of somatic gametogenesis in plants and basal metazoans, the evolution of oogamy in all plants and animals with tissue differentiation, and the mutational forces driving early germline sequestration in active bilaterians. The origins of predation in motile bilaterians in the Cambrian explosion is likely to have increased rates of tissue turnover and mitochondrial replication errors, in turn driving germline evolution and the emergence of complex developmental processes.
Project description:Separate germline and somatic genomes are found in numerous lineages across the eukaryotic tree of life, often separated into distinct tissues (e.g., in plants, animals, and fungi) or distinct nuclei sharing a common cytoplasm (e.g., in ciliates and some foraminifera). In ciliates, germline-limited (i.e., micronuclear-specific) DNA is eliminated during the development of a new somatic (i.e., macronuclear) genome in a process that is tightly linked to large-scale genome rearrangements, such as deletions and reordering of protein-coding sequences. Most studies of germline genome architecture in ciliates have focused on the model ciliates Oxytricha trifallax, Paramecium tetraurelia, and Tetrahymena thermophila, for which the complete germline genome sequences are known. Outside of these model taxa, only a few dozen germline loci have been characterized from a limited number of cultivable species, which is likely due to difficulties in obtaining sufficient quantities of "purified" germline DNA in these taxa. Combining single-cell transcriptomics and genomics, we have overcome these limitations and provide the first insights into the structure of the germline genome of the ciliate Chilodonella uncinata, a member of the understudied class Phyllopharyngea Our analyses reveal the following: (i) large gene families contain a disproportionate number of genes from scrambled germline loci; (ii) germline-soma boundaries in the germline genome are demarcated by substantial shifts in GC content; (iii) single-cell omics techniques provide large-scale quality germline genome data with limited effort, at least for ciliates with extensively fragmented somatic genomes. Our approach provides an efficient means to understand better the evolution of genome rearrangements between germline and soma in ciliates.IMPORTANCE Our understanding of the distinctions between germline and somatic genomes in ciliates has largely relied on studies of a few model genera (e.g., Oxytricha, Paramecium, Tetrahymena). We have used single-cell omics to explore germline-soma distinctions in the ciliate Chilodonella uncinata, which likely diverged from the better-studied ciliates ~700 million years ago. The analyses presented here indicate that developmentally regulated genome rearrangements between germline and soma are demarcated by rapid transitions in local GC composition and lead to diversification of protein families. The approaches used here provide the basis for future work aimed at discerning the evolutionary impacts of germline-soma distinctions among diverse ciliates.
Project description:DNA Replication Timing (RT) has been suggested to play an important role in shaping the mammalian genome by affecting mutation rates. Previous analyses were limited in that they relied on somatic DNA RT profiles, while to fully understand the influences of RT on the mammalian genome, germ cell RT information is necessary, as only germline mutations are passed to offspring and thus affect genomic composition. Using an improved RT mapping technique that allows mapping the RT from limited amounts of cells, we measured RT from two stages in the mouse germline - primordial germ cells (PGCs) and spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Overall design: Examination of replication timing in somatic and germ cells
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mutations arise in the human genome in two major settings: the germline and the soma. These settings involve different inheritance patterns, time scales, chromatin structures, and environmental exposures, all of which impact the resulting distribution of substitutions. Nonetheless, many of the same single nucleotide variants (SNVs) are shared between germline and somatic mutation databases, such as between the gnomAD database of 120,000 germline exomes and the TCGA database of 10,000 somatic exomes. Here, we sought to explain this overlap. RESULTS:After strict filtering to exclude common germline polymorphisms and sites with poor coverage or mappability, we found 336,987 variants shared between the somatic and germline databases. A uniform statistical model explains 34% of these shared variants; a model that incorporates the varying mutation rates of the basic mutation types explains another 50% of shared variants; and a model that includes extended nucleotide contexts (e.g. surrounding 3 bases on either side) explains an additional 4% of shared variants. Analysis of read depth finds mixed evidence that up to 4% of the shared variants may represent germline variants leaked into somatic call sets. 9% of the shared variants are not explained by any model. Sequencing errors and convergent evolution did not account for these. We surveyed other factors as well: Cancers driven by endogenous mutational processes share a greater fraction of variants with the germline, and recently derived germline variants were more likely to be somatically shared than were ancient germline ones. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, we find that shared variants largely represent bona fide biological occurrences of the same variant in the germline and somatic setting and arise primarily because DNA has some of the same basic chemical vulnerabilities in either setting. Moreover, we find mixed evidence that somatic call-sets leak appreciable numbers of germline variants, which is relevant to genomic privacy regulations. In future studies, the similar chemical vulnerability of DNA between the somatic and germline settings might be used to help identify disease-related genes by guiding the development of background-mutation models that are informed by both somatic and germline patterns of variation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>A pivotal developmental question is whether tubers in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) form by germline and somatic TSC1 or TSC2 gene mutations. Loss of TSC1 or TSC2 in vitro and in vivo leads to mTORC1 cascade activation and ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation (P-S6). Giant cells (GCs) in tubers exhibit S6 phosphorylation, suggesting cell-specific loss of TSC gene function.<h4>Methods</h4>TSC1 and TSC2 gene mutations were investigated in DNA extracted from tuber sections (n = 6) and microdissected P-S6-labeled GCs by sequencing and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis to define germline and somatic mutations.<h4>Results</h4>A germline TSC1 mutation was defined in 1 case and TSC2 mutations were defined in 5 cases. LOH was not detected in whole tuber sections or microdissected P-S6-labeled GCs. TSC1 and TSC2 were sequenced in microdissected P-S6-immunolabeled GCs. In 5 specimens, a somatic mutation was identified in single GCs that was not detected in whole tuber sections or leukocyte DNA. Four somatic mutations were novel variants (1 nonsense and 3 missense mutations) and 1 additional nonsense somatic mutation was previously reported as a germline mutation. In 1 case, no somatic mutation was identified. There was reduced expression of TSC1 or TSC2 transcripts in the TSC1 or TSC2 associated specimens. In the cases containing a nonsense mutation, no transcript mRNA was detected, suggesting nonsense-mediated degradation.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We provide evidence to support the hypothesis that tubers form by biallelic TSC1 or TSC2 gene inactivation reflecting a "2-hit" mechanism of germline and somatic mutational events. AML = angiomyolipoma; DN = dysplastic neuron; FFPE = formalin fixed, paraffin embedded; GC = giant cell; H-E = hematoxylin and eosin; LOH = loss of heterozygosity; TSC = tuberous sclerosis complex.
Project description:Due to the high mutational somatic burden of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma (CMM) a thorough profiling of the driver mutations and their interplay is necessary to explain the timing of tumorigenesis or for the identification of actionable genetic events. The aim of this study was to establish the mutation rate of some of the key drivers in melanoma tumorigenesis combining molecular analyses and/or immunohistochemistry in 93 primary CMMs from an Italian cohort also characterized for germline status, and to investigate an interplay between germline and somatic variants. BRAF mutations were present in 68% of cases, while CDKN2A germline mutations were found in 16 % and p16 loss in tissue was found in 63%. TERT promoter somatic mutations were detected in 38% of cases while the TERT -245T>C polymorphism was found in 51% of cases. NRAS mutations were found in 39% of BRAF negative or undetermined cases. NF1 was expressed in all cases analysed. MC1R variations were both considered as a dichotomous variable or scored. While a positive, although not significant association between CDKN2A germline mutations, but not MC1R variants, and BRAF somatic mutation was found, we did not observe other associations between germline and somatic events. A yet undescribed inverse correlation between TERT -245T>C polymorphism and the presence of BRAF mutation was found. It is possible to hypothesize that -245T>C polymorphism could be included in those genotypes which may influence the occurrence of BRAF mutations. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of -245T>C polymorphism as a germline predictor of BRAF somatic mutation status.
Project description:A detailed understanding of the genome-wide variability of single-nucleotide germline mutation rates is essential to studying human genome evolution. Here, we use ~36 million singleton variants from 3560 whole-genome sequences to infer fine-scale patterns of mutation rate heterogeneity. Mutability is jointly affected by adjacent nucleotide context and diverse genomic features of the surrounding region, including histone modifications, replication timing, and recombination rate, sometimes suggesting specific mutagenic mechanisms. Remarkably, GC content, DNase hypersensitivity, CpG islands, and H3K36 trimethylation are associated with both increased and decreased mutation rates depending on nucleotide context. We validate these estimated effects in an independent dataset of ~46,000 de novo mutations, and confirm our estimates are more accurate than previously published results based on ancestrally older variants without considering genomic features. Our results thus provide the most refined portrait to date of the factors contributing to genome-wide variability of the human germline mutation rate.
Project description:Tissue-specific establishment of repressive chromatin through creation of compact chromatin domains during development is necessary to ensure proper gene expression and cell fate. Caenorhabditis elegans synMuv B proteins are important for the soma/germline fate decision and mutants demonstrate ectopic germline gene expression in somatic tissue, especially at high temperature. We show that C. elegans synMuv B proteins regulate developmental chromatin compaction and that the timing of chromatin compaction is temperature sensitive in both wild type and synMuv B mutants. Chromatin compaction in mutants is delayed into developmental time periods when zygotic gene expression is upregulated and demonstrates an anterior-to-posterior pattern. Loss of this patterned compaction coincides with the developmental time period of ectopic germline gene expression, which leads to a developmental arrest in synMuv B mutants. Finally, accelerated cell division rates at elevated temperature may contribute to a lack of coordination between expression of tissue specific transcription programs and chromatin compaction at high temperature. Thus, chromatin organization during development is regulated both spatially and temporally by synMuv B proteins to establish repressive chromatin in a tissue-specific manner to ensure proper gene expression.
Project description:In many organisms, local deviations from Chargaff's second parity rule are observed around replication and transcription start sites and within intron sequences. Here, we use expression data as well as a whole-genome data set of nearly 200 haplotypes to investigate such compositional skews in Drosophila melanogaster genes. We find a positive correlation between compositional skew and gene expression, comparable in strength to similar correlations between expression levels and genome-wide sequence features. This correlation is relatively stronger for germline, compared with somatic expression, consistent with the process of transcription-associated mutation bias. We also inferred mutation rates from alleles segregating at low frequencies in short introns, and show that, whereas the overall GC content of short introns does not conform to the equilibrium expectation, the level of the observed deviation from the second parity rule is generally consistent with the inferred rates.
Project description:Given the disposability of somatic tissue, selection can favor a higher mutation rate in the early segregating soma than in germline, as seen in some animals. Although in plants intra-organismic mutation rate heterogeneity is poorly resolved, the same selectionist logic can predict a lower rate in shoot than in root and in longer-lived terminal tissues (e.g., leaves) than in ontogenetically similar short-lived ones (e.g., petals), and that mutation rate heterogeneity should be deterministic with no significant differences between biological replicates. To address these expectations, we sequenced 754 genomes from various tissues of eight plant species. Consistent with a selectionist model, the rate of mutation accumulation per unit time in shoot apical meristem is lower than that in root apical tissues in perennials, in which a high proportion of mutations in shoots are themselves transmissible, but not in annuals, in which somatic mutations tend not to be transmissible. Similarly, the number of mutations accumulated in leaves is commonly lower than that within a petal of the same plant, and there is no more heterogeneity in accumulation rates between replicate branches than expected by chance. High mutation accumulation in runners of strawberry is, we argue, the exception that proves the rule, as mutation transmission patterns indicate that runner has a restricted germline. However, we also find that in vitro callus tissue has a higher mutation rate (per unit time) than the wild-grown comparator, suggesting nonadaptive mutational "fragility". As mutational fragility does not obviously explain why the shoot-root difference varies with plant longevity, we conclude that some mutation rate variation between tissues is consistent with selectionist theory but that a mechanistic null of mutational fragility should be considered.