June 1, 2021  |  

Allelic specificity of immunoglobulin heavy chain ([email protected]) translocation in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) unveiled by long-read sequencing

Oncogenic fusion of IGH-DUX4 has recently been reported as a hallmark that defines a B-ALL subtype present in up to 7% of adolescents and young adults B-ALL. The translocation of DUX4 into IGH results in aberrant activation of DUX4 by hijacking the intronic IGH enhancer (Eµ). How IGH-DUX4 translocation interplays with IGH allelic exclusion was never been explored. We investigated this in Nalm6 B-ALL cell line, using long-read (PacBio Iso-Seq method and 10X Chromium WGS), short-read (Illumina total stranded RNA and WGS), epigenome (H3K27ac ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq) and 3-D genome (Hi-C, H3K27ac HiChIP, Capture-C).


October 23, 2019  |  

Sites of retroviral DNA integration: From basic research to clinical applications.

One of the most crucial steps in the life cycle of a retrovirus is the integration of the viral DNA (vDNA) copy of the RNA genome into the genome of an infected host cell. Integration provides for efficient viral gene expression as well as for the segregation of viral genomes to daughter cells upon cell division. Some integrated viruses are not well expressed, and cells latently infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can resist the action of potent antiretroviral drugs and remain dormant for decades. Intensive research has been dedicated to understanding the catalytic mechanism of integration, as well as the viral and cellular determinants that influence integration site distribution throughout the host genome. In this review, we summarize the evolution of techniques that have been used to recover and map retroviral integration sites, from the early days that first indicated that integration could occur in multiple cellular DNA locations, to current technologies that map upwards of millions of unique integration sites from single in vitro integration reactions or cell culture infections. We further review important insights gained from the use of such mapping techniques, including the monitoring of cell clonal expansion in patients treated with retrovirus-based gene therapy vectors, or patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). These insights span from integrase (IN) enzyme sequence preferences within target DNA (tDNA) at the sites of integration, to the roles of host cellular proteins in mediating global integration distribution, to the potential relationship between genomic location of vDNA integration site and retroviral latency.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio’s single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT sequencing is revolutionizing constitutional, reproductive, cancer, microbial and viral genetic testing.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-molecule DNA sequencing of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes with multiple TP53 alterations.

Although the frequency of TP53 mutations in hemato- logic malignancies is low, these mutations have a high clinical relevance and are usually associated with poor prognosis. Somatic TP53 mutations have been detected in up to 73.3% of cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with complex karyotype and 18.9% of AML with other unfavorable cytogenetic risk factors. AML with TP53 mutations, and/or chromosomal aneuploidy, has been defined as a distinct AML subtype. In low-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), TP53 mutations occur at an early disease stage and predict disease progression. TP53 mutation diagnosis is now part of the revised European LeukemiaNet (ELN) guidelines.


September 22, 2019  |  

Alternative splice variants of AID are not stoichiometrically present at the protein level in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Activation-induced deaminase (AID) is a DNA-mutating enzyme that mediates class-switch recombination as well as somatic hypermutation of antibody genes in B cells. Due to off-target activity, AID is implicated in lymphoma development by introducing genome-wide DNA damage and initiating chromosomal translocations such as c-myc/IgH. Several alternative splice transcripts of AID have been reported in activated B cells as well as malignant B cells such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). As most commercially available antibodies fail to recognize alternative splice variants, their abundance in vivo, and hence their biological significance, has not been determined. In this study, we assessed the protein levels of AID splice isoforms by introducing an AID splice reporter construct into cell lines and primary CLL cells from patients as well as from WT and TCL1(tg) C57BL/6 mice (where TCL1 is T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1). The splice construct is 5′-fused to a GFP-tag, which is preserved in all splice isoforms and allows detection of translated protein. Summarizing, we show a thorough quantification of alternatively spliced AID transcripts and demonstrate that the corresponding protein abundances, especially those of splice variants AID-ivs3 and AID-?E4, are not stoichiometrically equivalent. Our data suggest that enhanced proteasomal degradation of low-abundance proteins might be causative for this discrepancy. © 2013 The Authors. European Journal of Immunology published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


September 22, 2019  |  

Fusion of TTYH1 with the C19MC microRNA cluster drives expression of a brain-specific DNMT3B isoform in the embryonal brain tumor ETMR.

Embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes (ETMRs) are rare, deadly pediatric brain tumors characterized by high-level amplification of the microRNA cluster C19MC. We performed integrated genetic and epigenetic analyses of 12 ETMR samples and identified, in all cases, C19MC fusions to TTYH1 driving expression of the microRNAs. ETMR tumors, cell lines and xenografts showed a specific DNA methylation pattern distinct from those of other tumors and normal tissues. We detected extreme overexpression of a previously uncharacterized isoform of DNMT3B originating at an alternative promoter that is active only in the first weeks of neural tube development. Transcriptional and immunohistochemical analyses suggest that C19MC-dependent DNMT3B deregulation is mediated by RBL2, a known repressor of DNMT3B. Transfection with individual C19MC microRNAs resulted in DNMT3B upregulation and RBL2 downregulation in cultured cells. Our data suggest a potential oncogenic re-engagement of an early developmental program in ETMR via epigenetic alteration mediated by an embryonic, brain-specific DNMT3B isoform.


September 22, 2019  |  

Current developments in molecular monitoring in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Molecular monitoring plays an essential role in the clinical management of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, and now guides clinical decision making. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction (qRT-PCR) assessment of BCR-ABL1 transcript levels has become the standard of care protocol in CML. However, further developments are required to assess leukemic burden more efficiently, monitor minimal residual disease (MRD), detect mutations that drive resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy and identify predictors of response to TKI therapy. Cartridge-based BCR-ABL1 quantitation, digital PCR and next generation sequencing are examples of technologies which are currently being explored, evaluated and translated into the clinic. Here we review the emerging molecular methods/technologies currently being developed to advance molecular monitoring in CML.


September 22, 2019  |  

Characterization of fusion genes and the significantly expressed fusion isoforms in breast cancer by hybrid sequencing.

We developed an innovative hybrid sequencing approach, IDP-fusion, to detect fusion genes, determine fusion sites and identify and quantify fusion isoforms. IDP-fusion is the first method to study gene fusion events by integrating Third Generation Sequencing long reads and Second Generation Sequencing short reads. We applied IDP-fusion to PacBio data and Illumina data from the MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Compared with the existing tools, IDP-fusion detects fusion genes at higher precision and a very low false positive rate. The results show that IDP-fusion will be useful for unraveling the complexity of multiple fusion splices and fusion isoforms within tumorigenesis-relevant fusion genes. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Mutant JAK3 signaling is increased by loss of wild-type JAK3 or by acquisition of secondary JAK3 mutations in T-ALL.

The Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) tyrosine kinase is mutated in 10% to 16% of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cases. JAK3 mutants induce constitutive JAK/STAT signaling and cause leukemia when expressed in the bone marrow cells of mice. Surprisingly, we observed that one third of JAK3-mutant T-ALL cases harbor 2 JAK3 mutations, some of which are monoallelic and others that are biallelic. Our data suggest that wild-type JAK3 competes with mutant JAK3 (M511I) for binding to the common ? chain and thereby suppresses its oncogenic potential. We demonstrate that JAK3 (M511I) can increase its limited oncogenic potential through the acquisition of an additional mutation in the mutant JAK3 allele. These double JAK3 mutants show increased STAT5 activation and increased potential to transform primary mouse pro-T cells to interleukin-7-independent growth and were not affected by wild-type JAK3 expression. These data extend our insight into the oncogenic properties of JAK3 mutations and provide an explanation of why progression of JAK3-mutant T-ALL cases can be associated with the accumulation of additional JAK3 mutations.© 2018 by The American Society of Hematology.


July 19, 2019  |  

Validation of ITD mutations in FLT3 as a therapeutic target in human acute myeloid leukaemia.

Effective targeted cancer therapeutic development depends upon distinguishing disease-associated ‘driver’ mutations, which have causative roles in malignancy pathogenesis, from ‘passenger’ mutations, which are dispensable for cancer initiation and maintenance. Translational studies of clinically active targeted therapeutics can definitively discriminate driver from passenger lesions and provide valuable insights into human cancer biology. Activating internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations in FLT3 (FLT3-ITD) are detected in approximately 20% of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients and are associated with a poor prognosis. Abundant scientific and clinical evidence, including the lack of convincing clinical activity of early FLT3 inhibitors, suggests that FLT3-ITD probably represents a passenger lesion. Here we report point mutations at three residues within the kinase domain of FLT3-ITD that confer substantial in vitro resistance to AC220 (quizartinib), an active investigational inhibitor of FLT3, KIT, PDGFRA, PDGFRB and RET; evolution of AC220-resistant substitutions at two of these amino acid positions was observed in eight of eight FLT3-ITD-positive AML patients with acquired resistance to AC220. Our findings demonstrate that FLT3-ITD can represent a driver lesion and valid therapeutic target in human AML. AC220-resistant FLT3 kinase domain mutants represent high-value targets for future FLT3 inhibitor development efforts.


July 19, 2019  |  

Characterizing and overriding the structural mechanism of the Quizartinib-resistant FLT3 “gatekeeper” F691L mutation with PLX3397.

Tyrosine kinase domain mutations are a common cause of acquired clinical resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) used to treat cancer, including the FLT3 inhibitor quizartinib. Mutation of kinase “gatekeeper” residues, which control access to an allosteric pocket adjacent to the ATP-binding site, has been frequently implicated in TKI resistance. The molecular underpinnings of gatekeeper mutation-mediated resistance are incompletely understood. We report the first cocrystal structure of FLT3 with the TKI quizartinib, which demonstrates that quizartinib binding relies on essential edge-to-face aromatic interactions with the gatekeeper F691 residue, and F830 within the highly conserved Asp-Phe-Gly motif in the activation loop. This reliance makes quizartinib critically vulnerable to gatekeeper and activation loop substitutions while minimizing the impact of mutations elsewhere. Moreover, we identify PLX3397, a novel FLT3 inhibitor that retains activity against the F691L mutant due to a binding mode that depends less vitally on specific interactions with the gatekeeper position.We report the first cocrystal structure of FLT3 with a kinase inhibitor, elucidating the structural mechanism of resistance due to the gatekeeper F691L mutation. PLX3397 is a novel FLT3 inhibitor with in vitro activity against this mutation but is vulnerable to kinase domain mutations in the FLT3 activation loop. Cancer Discov; 5(6); 668-79. ©2015 AACR. This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 565. ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Selective graft-versus-leukemia depends on magnitude and diversity of the alloreactive T cell response.

Patients with leukemia who receive a T cell-depleted allogeneic stem cell graft followed by postponed donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) can experience graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) reactivity, with a lower risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Here, we have investigated the magnitude, diversity, and specificity of alloreactive CD8 T cells in patients who developed GVL reactivity after DLI in the absence or presence of GVHD. We observed a lower magnitude and diversity of CD8 T cells for minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHAs) in patients with selective GVL reactivity without GVHD. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MiHA-specific T cell clones from patients with selective GVL reactivity showed lower reactivity against nonhematopoietic cells, even when pretreated with inflammatory cytokines. Expression analysis of MiHA-encoding genes showed that similar types of antigens were recognized in both patient groups, but in patients who developed GVHD, T cell reactivity was skewed to target broadly expressed MiHAs. As an inflammatory environment can render nonhematopoietic cells susceptible to T cell recognition, prevention of such circumstances favors induction of selective GVL reactivity without development of GVHD.


July 7, 2019  |  

Medulloblastoma exome sequencing uncovers subtype-specific somatic mutations.

Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumours in children. Identifying and understanding the genetic events that drive these tumours is critical for the development of more effective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies. Recently, our group and others described distinct molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma on the basis of transcriptional and copy number profiles. Here we use whole-exome hybrid capture and deep sequencing to identify somatic mutations across the coding regions of 92 primary medulloblastoma/normal pairs. Overall, medulloblastomas have low mutation rates consistent with other paediatric tumours, with a median of 0.35 non-silent mutations per megabase. We identified twelve genes mutated at statistically significant frequencies, including previously known mutated genes in medulloblastoma such as CTNNB1, PTCH1, MLL2, SMARCA4 and TP53. Recurrent somatic mutations were newly identified in an RNA helicase gene, DDX3X, often concurrent with CTNNB1 mutations, and in the nuclear co-repressor (N-CoR) complex genes GPS2, BCOR and LDB1. We show that mutant DDX3X potentiates transactivation of a TCF promoter and enhances cell viability in combination with mutant, but not wild-type, ß-catenin. Together, our study reveals the alteration of WNT, hedgehog, histone methyltransferase and now N-CoR pathways across medulloblastomas and within specific subtypes of this disease, and nominates the RNA helicase DDX3X as a component of pathogenic ß-catenin signalling in medulloblastoma.


July 7, 2019  |  

An Inv(16)(p13.3q24.3)-encoded CBFA2T3-GLIS2 fusion protein defines an aggressive subtype of pediatric acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.

To define the mutation spectrum in non-Down syndrome acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (non-DS-AMKL), we performed transcriptome sequencing on diagnostic blasts from 14 pediatric patients and validated our findings in a recurrency/validation cohort consisting of 34 pediatric and 28 adult AMKL samples. Our analysis identified a cryptic chromosome 16 inversion (inv(16)(p13.3q24.3)) in 27% of pediatric cases, which encodes a CBFA2T3-GLIS2 fusion protein. Expression of CBFA2T3-GLIS2 in Drosophila and murine hematopoietic cells induced bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling and resulted in a marked increase in the self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic progenitors. These data suggest that expression of CBFA2T3-GLIS2 directly contributes to leukemogenesis. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Heterogeneous resistance to quizartinib in acute myeloid leukemia revealed by single-cell analysis.

Genomic studies have revealed significant branching heterogeneity in cancer. Studies of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy have not fully reflected this heterogeneity because resistance in individual patients has been ascribed to largely mutually exclusive on-target or off-target mechanisms in which tumors either retain dependency on the target oncogene or subvert it through a parallel pathway. Using targeted sequencing from single cells and colonies from patient samples, we demonstrate tremendous clonal diversity in the majority of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with activating FLT3 internal tandem duplication mutations at the time of acquired resistance to the FLT3 inhibitor quizartinib. These findings establish that clinical resistance to quizartinib is highly complex and reflects the underlying clonal heterogeneity of AML.© 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.


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