April 21, 2020  |  

The landscape of SNCA transcripts across synucleinopathies: New insights from long reads sequencing analysis

Dysregulation of alpha-synuclein expression has been implicated in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies, in particular Parkinsontextquoterights Disease (PD) and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Previous studies have shown that the alternatively spliced isoforms of the SNCA gene are differentially expressed in different parts of the brain for PD and DLB patients. Similarly, SNCA isoforms with skipped exons can have a functional impact on the protein domains. The large intronic region of the SNCA gene was also shown to harbor structural variants that affect transcriptional levels. Here we apply the first study of using long read sequencing with targeted capture of both the gDNA and cDNA of the SNCA gene in brain tissues of PD, DLB, and control samples using the PacBio Sequel system. The targeted full-length cDNA (Iso-Seq) data confirmed complex usage of known alternative start sites and variable 3textquoteright UTR lengths, as well as novel 5textquoteright starts and 3textquoteright ends not previously described. The targeted gDNA data allowed phasing of up to 81% of the ~114kb SNCA region, with the longest phased block excedding 54 kb. We demonstrate that long gDNA and cDNA reads have the potential to reveal long-range information not previously accessible using traditional sequencing methods. This approach has a potential impact in studying disease risk genes such as SNCA, providing new insights into the genetic etiologies, including perturbations to the landscape the gene transcripts, of human complex diseases such as synucleinopathies.


April 21, 2020  |  

Megabase Length Hypermutation Accompanies Human Structural Variation at 17p11.2.

DNA rearrangements resulting in human genome structural variants (SVs) are caused by diverse mutational mechanisms. We used long- and short-read sequencing technologies to investigate end products of de novo chromosome 17p11.2 rearrangements and query the molecular mechanisms underlying both recurrent and non-recurrent events. Evidence for an increased rate of clustered single-nucleotide variant (SNV) mutation in cis with non-recurrent rearrangements was found. Indel and SNV formation are associated with both copy-number gains and losses of 17p11.2, occur up to ~1 Mb away from the breakpoint junctions, and favor C > G transversion substitutions; results suggest that single-stranded DNA is formed during the genesis of the SV and provide compelling support for a microhomology-mediated break-induced replication (MMBIR) mechanism for SV formation. Our data show an additional mutational burden of MMBIR consisting of hypermutation confined to the locus and manifesting as SNVs and indels predominantly within genes. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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