April 21, 2020  |  

Long-read sequencing identified intronic repeat expansions in SAMD12 from Chinese pedigrees affected with familial cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy.

The locus for familial cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy (FCMTE) has long been mapped to 8q24 in linkage studies, but the causative mutations remain unclear. Recently, expansions of intronic TTTCA and TTTTA repeat motifs within SAMD12 were found to be involved in the pathogenesis of FCMTE in Japanese pedigrees. We aim to identify the causative mutations of FCMTE in Chinese pedigrees.We performed genetic linkage analysis by microsatellite markers in a five-generation Chinese pedigree with 55 members. We also used array-comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies (whole-exome sequencing, capture region deep sequencing and whole-genome sequencing) to identify the causative mutations in the disease locus. Recently, we used low-coverage (~10×) long-read genome sequencing (LRS) on the PacBio Sequel and Oxford Nanopore platforms to identify the causative mutations, and used repeat-primed PCR for validation of the repeat expansions.Linkage analysis mapped the disease locus to 8q23.3-24.23. Array-CGH and NGS failed to identify causative mutations in this locus. LRS identified the intronic TTTCA and TTTTA repeat expansions in SAMD12 as the causative mutations, thus corroborating the recently published results in Japanese pedigrees.We identified the pentanucleotide repeat expansion in SAMD12 as the causative mutation in Chinese FCMTE pedigrees. Our study also suggested that LRS is an effective tool for molecular diagnosis of genetic disorders, especially for neurological diseases that cannot be positively diagnosed by conventional clinical microarray and NGS technologies. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


April 21, 2020  |  

Investigation of the role of typhoid toxin in acute typhoid fever in a human challenge model.

Salmonella Typhi is a human host-restricted pathogen that is responsible for typhoid fever in approximately 10.9 million people annually1. The typhoid toxin is postulated to have a central role in disease pathogenesis, the establishment of chronic infection and human host restriction2-6. However, its precise role in typhoid disease in humans is not fully defined. We studied the role of typhoid toxin in acute infection using a randomized, double-blind S. Typhi human challenge model7. Forty healthy volunteers were randomized (1:1) to oral challenge with 104 colony-forming units of wild-type or an isogenic typhoid toxin deletion mutant (TN) of S. Typhi. We observed no significant difference in the rate of typhoid infection (fever =38?°C for =12?h and/or S. Typhi bacteremia) between participants challenged with wild-type or TN S. Typhi (15 out of 21 (71%) versus 15 out of 19 (79%); P?=?0.58). The duration of bacteremia was significantly longer in participants challenged with the TN strain compared with wild-type (47.6 hours (28.9-97.0) versus 30.3(3.6-49.4); P = 0.001). The clinical syndrome was otherwise indistinguishable between wild-type and TN groups. These data suggest that the typhoid toxin is not required for infection and the development of early typhoid fever symptoms within the context of a human challenge model. Further clinical data are required to assess the role of typhoid toxin in severe disease or the establishment of bacterial carriage.


April 21, 2020  |  

Systematic analysis of dark and camouflaged genes reveals disease-relevant genes hiding in plain sight.

The human genome contains “dark” gene regions that cannot be adequately assembled or aligned using standard short-read sequencing technologies, preventing researchers from identifying mutations within these gene regions that may be relevant to human disease. Here, we identify regions with few mappable reads that we call dark by depth, and others that have ambiguous alignment, called camouflaged. We assess how well long-read or linked-read technologies resolve these regions.Based on standard whole-genome Illumina sequencing data, we identify 36,794 dark regions in 6054 gene bodies from pathways important to human health, development, and reproduction. Of these gene bodies, 8.7% are completely dark and 35.2% are =?5% dark. We identify dark regions that are present in protein-coding exons across 748 genes. Linked-read or long-read sequencing technologies from 10x Genomics, PacBio, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies reduce dark protein-coding regions to approximately 50.5%, 35.6%, and 9.6%, respectively. We present an algorithm to resolve most camouflaged regions and apply it to the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project. We rescue a rare ten-nucleotide frameshift deletion in CR1, a top Alzheimer’s disease gene, found in disease cases but not in controls.While we could not formally assess the association of the CR1 frameshift mutation with Alzheimer’s disease due to insufficient sample-size, we believe it merits investigating in a larger cohort. There remain thousands of potentially important genomic regions overlooked by short-read sequencing that are largely resolved by long-read technologies.


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