Project description:Cell-free DNA in plasma has been used for noninvasive prenatal testing and cancer liquid biopsy. The physical properties of cell-free DNA fragments in plasma, such as fragment sizes and ends, have attracted much recent interest, leading to the emerging field of cell-free DNA fragmentomics. However, one aspect of plasma DNA fragmentomics as to whether double-stranded plasma molecules might carry single-stranded ends, termed a jagged end in this study, remains underexplored. We have developed two approaches for investigating the presence of jagged ends in a plasma DNA pool. These approaches utilized DNA end repair to introduce differential methylation signals between the original sequence and the jagged ends, depending on whether unmethylated or methylated cytosines were used in the DNA end-repair procedure. The majority of plasma DNA molecules (87.8%) were found to bear jagged ends. The jaggedness varied according to plasma DNA fragment sizes and appeared to be in association with nucleosomal patterns. In the plasma of pregnant women, the jaggedness of fetal DNA molecules was higher than that of the maternal counterparts. The jaggedness of plasma DNA correlated with the fetal DNA fraction. Similarly, in the plasma of cancer patients, tumor-derived DNA molecules in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma showed an elevated jaggedness compared with nontumoral DNA. In mouse models, knocking out of the Dnase1 gene reduced jaggedness, whereas knocking out of the Dnase1l3 gene enhanced jaggedness. Hence, plasma DNA jagged ends represent an intrinsic property of plasma DNA and provide a link between nuclease activities and the fragmentation of plasma DNA.
Project description:Cell-free DNA in human plasma is nonrandomly fragmented and reflects genomewide nucleosomal organization. Previous studies had demonstrated tissue-specific preferred end sites in plasma DNA of pregnant women. In this study, we performed integrative analysis of preferred end sites with the size characteristics of plasma DNA fragments. We mined the preferred end sites in short and long plasma DNA molecules separately and found that these "size-tagged" ends showed improved accuracy in fetal DNA fraction estimation and enhanced noninvasive fetal trisomy 21 testing. Further analysis revealed that the fetal and maternal preferred ends were generated from different locations within the nucleosomal structure. Hence, fetal DNA was frequently cut within the nucleosome core while maternal DNA was mostly cut within the linker region. We further demonstrated that the nucleosome accessibility in placental cells was higher than that for white blood cells, which might explain the difference in the cutting positions and the shortness of fetal DNA in maternal plasma. Interestingly, short and long size-tagged ends were also observable in the plasma of nonpregnant healthy subjects and demonstrated size differences similar to those in the pregnant samples. Because the nonpregnant samples did not contain fetal DNA, the data suggested that the interrelationship of preferred DNA ends, chromatin accessibility, and plasma DNA size profile is likely a general one, extending beyond the context of pregnancy. Plasma DNA fragment end patterns have thus shed light on production mechanisms and show utility in future developments in plasma DNA-based noninvasive molecular diagnostics.
Project description:Plasma DNA obtained from a pregnant woman was sequenced to a depth of 270× haploid genome coverage. Comparing the maternal plasma DNA sequencing data with the parental genomic DNA data and using a series of bioinformatics filters, fetal de novo mutations were detected at a sensitivity of 85% and a positive predictive value of 74%. These results represent a 169-fold improvement in the positive predictive value over previous attempts. Improvements in the interpretation of the sequence information of every base position in the genome allowed us to interrogate the maternal inheritance of the fetus for 618,271 of 656,676 (94.2%) heterozygous SNPs within the maternal genome. The fetal genotype at each of these sites was deduced individually, unlike previously, where the inheritance was determined for a collection of sites within a haplotype. These results represent a 90-fold enhancement in the resolution in determining the fetus's maternal inheritance. Selected genomic locations were more likely to be found at the ends of plasma DNA molecules. We found that a subset of such preferred ends exhibited selectivity for fetal- or maternal-derived DNA in maternal plasma. The ratio of the number of maternal plasma DNA molecules with fetal preferred ends to those with maternal preferred ends showed a correlation with the fetal DNA fraction. Finally, this second generation approach for noninvasive fetal whole-genome analysis was validated in a pregnancy diagnosed with cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome with maternal plasma DNA sequenced to 195× coverage. The causative de novo BRAF mutation was successfully detected through the maternal plasma DNA analysis.
Project description:The thermodynamic contributions to duplex formation of all 32 possible single-nucleotide dangling ends on a Watson-Crick pair are reported. In most instances, dangling ends are stabilizing with free energy contributions ranging from +0.48 (GT(A)) to-0.96 kcal/mol (). In comparison, Watson-Crick nearest-neighbor increments range from -0. 58 (TA/AT) to -2.24 (GC/CG) kcal/mol. Hence, in some cases, a dangling end contributes as much to duplex stability as a Watson-Crick A-T base pair. The implications of these results for DNA probe design are discussed. Analysis of the sequence dependence of dangling-end stabilities show that the nature of the closing base pair largely determines the stabilization. For a given closing base pair, however, adenine dangling ends are always more or equally as stable as the other dangling nucleotides. Moreover, 5' dangling ends are more or equally as stabilizing as their 3' counterparts. Comparison of DNA with RNA dangling-end motifs shows that DNA motifs with 5' dangling ends contribute to stability equally or more than their RNA counterparts. Conversely, RNA 3' dangling ends contribute to stability equally or more than their DNA counterparts. This data set has been incorporated into a DNA secondary structure prediction algorithm (DNA MFOLD) (http://mfold2.wustl.edu/mfold/dna/for m1.cgi) as well as a DNA hybridization prediction algorithm (HYTHERtrade mark) (http://jsl1.chem.wayne.edu/Hyther/hythermenu .html).
Project description:In the initial step of integration, retroviral integrase (IN) introduces precise nicks in the degenerate, short inverted repeats at the ends of linear viral DNA. The scissile phosphodiester bond is located immediately 3' of a highly conserved CA/GT dinucleotide, usually 2 bp from the ends. These nicks create new recessed 3'-OH viral DNA ends that are required for joining to host cell DNA. Previous studies have indicated that unpairing, "fraying," of the viral DNA ends by IN contributes to end recognition or catalysis. Here, we report that end fraying can be detected independently of catalysis with both avian sarcoma virus (ASV) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) IN proteins by use of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). The results were indicative of an IN-induced intramolecular conformational change in the viral DNA ends (cis FRET). Fraying activity is tightly coupled to the DNA binding capabilities of these enzymes, as follows: an inhibitor effective against both IN proteins was shown to block ASV IN DNA binding and end fraying, with similar dose responses; ASV IN substitutions that reduced DNA binding also reduced end fraying activity; and HIV-1 IN DNA binding and end fraying were both undetectable in the absence of a metal cofactor. Consistent with our previous results, end fraying is sequence-independent, suggesting that the DNA terminus per se is a major structural determinant for recognition. We conclude that frayed ends represent a functional intermediate in which DNA termini can be sampled for suitability for endonucleolytic processing.
Project description:Chromosome ends, known as telomeres, have to be distinguished from DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that activate the DNA-damage checkpoint. In budding yeast, the ATM homolog Tel1 associates preferentially with short telomeres and promotes telomere addition. Here, we show that the telomeric proteins Rif1 and Rif2 attenuate Tel1 recruitment to DNA ends through distinct mechanisms. Both Rif1 and Rif2 inhibit the localization of Tel1, but not the Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 (MRX) complex, to adjacent DNA ends. Rif1 function is weaker at short telomeric repeats compared with Rif2 function and is partly dependent on Rif2. Rif2 competes with Tel1 for binding to the C terminus of Xrs2. Once Tel1 is delocalized, MRX does not associate efficiently with Rap1-covered DNA ends. These results reveal a mechanism by which telomeric DNA sequences mask DNA ends from Tel1 recognition for the regulation of telomere length.
Project description:DNA ends get exposed in cells upon either normal or dysfunctional cellular processes or molecular events. Telomeres need to be protected by the shelterin complex to avoid junctions occurring between chromosomes while failing topoisomerases or clustered DNA damage processing may produce double-strand breaks, thus requiring swift repair to avoid cell death. The rigorous study of the great many proteins involved in the maintenance of DNA integrity is a challenging task because of the innumerous unspecific electrostatic and/or hydrophobic DNA-protein interactions that arise due to the chemical nature of DNA. We devised a technique that discriminates the proteins recruited specifically at DNA ends from those that bind to DNA because of a generic affinity for the double helix. Our study shows that the DNA ends proteome comprises proteins of an unexpectedly wide functional spectrum, ranging from DNA repair to ribosome biogenesis and cytoskeleton, including novel proteins of undocumented function. A global mapping of the identified proteome on published DNA repair protein networks demonstrated the excellent specificity and functional coverage of our purification technique. Finally, the native nucleoproteic complexes that assembled specifically onto DNA ends were shown to be endowed with a highly efficient DNA repair activity.