September 22, 2019  |  

Discovery of gorilla MHC-C expressing C1 ligand for KIR.

In comparison to humans and chimpanzees, gorillas show low diversity at MHC class I genes (Gogo), as reflected by an overall reduced level of allelic variation as well as the absence of a functionally important sequence motif that interacts with killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR). Here, we use recently generated large-scale genomic sequence data for a reassessment of allelic diversity at Gogo-C, the gorilla orthologue of HLA-C. Through the combination of long-range amplifications and long-read sequencing technology, we obtained, among the 35 gorillas reanalyzed, three novel full-length genomic sequences including a coding region sequence that has not been previously described. The newly identified Gogo-C*03:01 allele has a divergent recombinant structure that sets it apart from other Gogo-C alleles. Domain-by-domain phylogenetic analysis shows that Gogo-C*03:01 has segments in common with Gogo-B*07, the additional B-like gene that is present on some gorilla MHC haplotypes. Identified in ~ 50% of the gorillas analyzed, the Gogo-C*03:01 allele exclusively encodes the C1 epitope among Gogo-C allotypes, indicating its important function in controlling natural killer cell (NK cell) responses via KIR. We further explored the hypothesis whether gorillas experienced a selective sweep which may have resulted in a general reduction of the gorilla MHC class I repertoire. Our results provide little support for a selective sweep but rather suggest that the overall low Gogo class I diversity can be best explained by drastic demographic changes gorillas experienced in the ancient and recent past.

July 19, 2019  |  

Detecting PKD1 variants in polycystic kidney disease patients by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

A genetic diagnosis of autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is challenging due to allelic heterogeneity, high GC content, and homology of the PKD1 gene with six pseudogenes. Short-read next-generation sequencing approaches, such as whole-genome sequencing and whole-exome sequencing, often fail at reliably characterizing complex regions such as PKD1. However, long-read single-molecule sequencing has been shown to be an alternative strategy that could overcome PKD1 complexities and discriminate between homologous regions of PKD1 and its pseudogenes. In this study, we present the increased power of resolution for complex regions using long-read sequencing to characterize a cohort of 19 patients with ADPKD. Our approach provided high sensitivity in identifying PKD1 pathogenic variants, diagnosing 94.7% of the patients. We show that reliable screening of ADPKD patients in a single test without interference of PKD1 homologous sequences, commonly introduced by residual amplification of PKD1 pseudogenes, by direct long-read sequencing is now possible. This strategy can be implemented in diagnostics and is highly suitable to sequence and resolve complex genomic regions that are of clinical relevance. © 2017 The Authors. Human Mutation published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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