Publications by authors named "Hanxin Lin"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Lynch syndrome screening of women with endometrial cancer: feasibility and outcomes in a community program.

J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2021 Oct 14. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

LifeLabs.

Objective: Universal screening of endometrial cancer for underlying Lynch syndrome (LS) using DNA mismatch repair immunohistochemistry (MMR IHC) has been recommended. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and outcomes of using office endometrial samplings in a community LS screening program.

Methods: A community laboratory adopted Cancer Care Ontario's LS screening recommendations. All new endometrial cancers in women aged <70 years were screened for LS using MMR IHC and MLH1 promoter methylation testing cascade for MLH1/PMS2-deficient cases. This retrospective validation study analyzes the first year's results.

Results: Of 693 new endometrial cancers, 467 (67.4%) were eligible for LS screening. Both MMR IHC and MLH1 promoter methylation testing were conclusive in >98% of cases. MMR deficiency (MMRd), which includes LS screen positive cases, was identified in 25.9% of patients (121/467). LS screen positive tumours comprised 5.9% (27/467) of all cases.

Conclusion: Endometrial samplings from community practice are suitable for pre-operative LS screening. This testing can identify MMRd endometrial cancers with significant prognostic implications. Approximately 1 in 20 Ontario women <70 years with endometrial cancer screen positive for LS. Pre-operative and/or operative assessment for co-existent colonic neoplasms needs to be considered in this high-risk group. In addition, these women should be referred to genetic counselling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jogc.2021.08.014DOI Listing
October 2021

Analysis of Sequence and Copy Number Variants in Canadian Patient Cohort With Familial Cancer Syndromes Using a Unique Next Generation Sequencing Based Approach.

Front Genet 2021 13;12:698595. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada.

Background: Hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes account for approximately 10% of cancer cases. Next generation sequencing (NGS) based multi-gene targeted panels is now a frontline approach to identify pathogenic mutations in cancer predisposition genes in high-risk families. Recent evolvement of NGS technologies have allowed simultaneous detection of sequence and copy number variants (CNVs) using a single platform. In this study, we have analyzed frequency and nature of sequence variants and CNVs, in a Canadian cohort of patients, suspected with hereditary cancer syndrome, referred for genetic testing following specific genetic testing guidelines based on patient's personal and/or family history of cancer.

Methods: A 2870 patients were subjected to a single NGS based multi-gene targeted hereditary cancer panel testing algorithm to identify sequence variants and CNVs in cancer predisposition genes at our reference laboratory in Southwestern Ontario. CNVs identified by NGS were confirmed by alternative techniques like Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA).

Results: A 15% (431/2870) patients had a pathogenic variant and 36% (1032/2870) had a variant of unknown significance (VUS), in a cancer susceptibility gene. A total of 287 unique pathogenic variant were identified, out of which 23 (8%) were novel. CNVs identified by NGS based approach accounted for 9.5% (27/287) of pathogenic variants, confirmed by alternate techniques with high accuracy.

Conclusion: This study emphasizes the utility of NGS based targeted testing approach to identify both sequence and CNVs in patients suspected with hereditary cancer syndromes in clinical setting and expands the mutational spectrum of high and moderate penetrance cancer predisposition genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.698595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8314385PMC
July 2021

Incidental findings from cancer next generation sequencing panels.

NPJ Genom Med 2021 Jul 19;6(1):63. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Familial Cancer Clinic, Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have facilitated multi-gene panel (MGP) testing to detect germline DNA variants in hereditary cancer patients. This sensitive technique can uncover unexpected, non-germline incidental findings indicative of mosaicism, clonal hematopoiesis (CH), or hematologic malignancies. A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify cases of incidental findings from NGS-MGP testing. Inclusion criteria included: 1) multiple pathogenic variants in the same patient; 2) pathogenic variants at a low allele fraction; and/or 3) the presence of pathogenic variants not consistent with family history. Secondary tissue analysis, complete blood count (CBC) and medical record review were conducted to further delineate the etiology of the pathogenic variants. Of 6060 NGS-MGP tests, 24 cases fulfilling our inclusion criteria were identified. Pathogenic variants were detected in TP53, ATM, CHEK2, BRCA1 and APC. 18/24 (75.0%) patients were classified as CH, 3/24 (12.5%) as mosaic, 2/24 (8.3%) related to a hematologic malignancy, and 1/24 (4.2%) as true germline. We describe a case-specific workflow to identify and interpret the nature of incidental findings on NGS-MGP. This workflow will provide oncology and genetic clinics a practical guide for the management and counselling of patients with unexpected NGS-MGP findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41525-021-00224-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8289933PMC
July 2021

Clinical and technical assessment of MedExome vs. NGS panels in patients with suspected genetic disorders in Southwestern Ontario.

J Hum Genet 2021 May 23;66(5):451-464. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada.

The adaptation of a broad genomic sequencing approach in the clinical setting has been accompanied by considerations regarding the clinical utility, technical performance, and diagnostic yield compared to targeted genetic approaches. We have developed MedExome, an integrated framework for sequencing, variant calling (SNVs, Indels, and CNVs), and clinical assessment of ~4600 medically relevant genes. We compared the technical performance of MedExome with the whole-exome and targeted gene-panel sequencing, assessed the reasons for discordance, and evaluated the added clinical yield of MedExome in a cohort of unresolved subjects suspected of genetic disease. Our analysis showed that despite a higher average read depth in panels (3058 vs. 855), MedExome yielded full coverage of the enriched regions (>20X) and 99% variant concordance rate with panels. The discordance rate was associated with low-complexity regions, high-GC content, and low allele fractions, observed in both platforms. MedExome yielded full sensitivity in detecting clinically actionable variants, and the assessment of 138 patients with suspected genetic conditions resulted in 76 clinical reports (31 full [22.1%], 3 partial, and 42 uncertain/possible molecular diagnoses). MedExome sequencing has comparable performance in variant detection to gene panels. Added diagnostic yield justifies expanded implementation of broad genomic approaches in unresolved patients; however, cost-benefit and health systems impact warrants assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s10038-020-00860-3DOI Listing
May 2021

Broad and Differential Animal Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Receptor Usage by SARS-CoV-2.

J Virol 2020 08 31;94(18). Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented global public health and economic crisis. The origin and emergence of its causal agent, SARS-CoV-2, in the human population remains mysterious, although bat and pangolin were proposed to be the natural reservoirs. Strikingly, unlike the SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses (CoVs) identified in bats and pangolins, SARS-CoV-2 harbors a polybasic furin cleavage site in its spike (S) glycoprotein. SARS-CoV-2 uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as its receptor to infect cells. Receptor recognition by the S protein is the major determinant of host range, tissue tropism, and pathogenesis of coronaviruses. In an effort to search for the potential intermediate or amplifying animal hosts of SARS-CoV-2, we examined receptor activity of ACE2 from 14 mammal species and found that ACE2s from multiple species can support the infectious entry of lentiviral particles pseudotyped with the wild-type or furin cleavage site-deficient S protein of SARS-CoV-2. ACE2 of human/rhesus monkey and rat/mouse exhibited the highest and lowest receptor activities, respectively. Among the remaining species, ACE2s from rabbit and pangolin strongly bound to the S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 S protein and efficiently supported the pseudotyped virus infection. These findings have important implications for understanding potential natural reservoirs, zoonotic transmission, human-to-animal transmission, and use of animal models. SARS-CoV-2 uses human ACE2 as a primary receptor for host cell entry. Viral entry mediated by the interaction of ACE2 with spike protein largely determines host range and is the major constraint to interspecies transmission. We examined the receptor activity of 14 ACE2 orthologs and found that wild-type and mutant SARS-CoV-2 lacking the furin cleavage site in S protein could utilize ACE2 from a broad range of animal species to enter host cells. These results have important implications in the natural hosts, interspecies transmission, animal models, and molecular basis of receptor binding for SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00940-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7459545PMC
August 2020

LY6E Restricts Entry of Human Coronaviruses, Including Currently Pandemic SARS-CoV-2.

J Virol 2020 08 31;94(18). Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

C3A is a subclone of the human hepatoblastoma HepG2 cell line with strong contact inhibition of growth. We fortuitously found that C3A was more susceptible to human coronavirus HCoV-OC43 infection than HepG2, which was attributed to the increased efficiency of virus entry into C3A cells. In an effort to search for the host cellular protein(s) mediating the differential susceptibility of the two cell lines to HCoV-OC43 infection, we found that ArfGAP with dual pleckstrin homology (PH) domains 2 (ADAP2), gamma-interferon-inducible lysosome/endosome-localized thiolreductase (GILT), and lymphocyte antigen 6 family member E (LY6E), the three cellular proteins identified to function in interference with virus entry, were expressed at significantly higher levels in HepG2 cells. Functional analyses revealed that ectopic expression of LY6E, but not GILT or ADAP2, in HEK 293 cells inhibited the entry of HCoV-O43. While overexpression of LY6E in C3A and A549 cells efficiently inhibited the infection of HCoV-OC43, knockdown of LY6E expression in HepG2 significantly increased its susceptibility to HCoV-OC43 infection. Moreover, we found that LY6E also efficiently restricted the entry mediated by the envelope spike proteins of other human coronaviruses, including the currently pandemic SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, overexpression of serine protease TMPRSS2 or amphotericin treatment significantly neutralized the IFN-inducible transmembrane 3 (IFITM3) restriction of human coronavirus (CoV) entry, but did not compromise the effect of LY6E on the entry of human coronaviruses. The work reported herein thus demonstrates that LY6E is a critical antiviral immune effector that controls CoV infection and pathogenesis via a mechanism distinct from other factors that modulate CoV entry. Virus entry into host cells is one of the key determinants of host range and cell tropism and is subjected to the control of host innate and adaptive immune responses. In the last decade, several interferon-inducible cellular proteins, including IFITMs, GILT, ADAP2, 25CH, and LY6E, had been identified to modulate the infectious entry of a variety of viruses. Particularly, LY6E was recently identified as a host factor that facilitates the entry of several human-pathogenic viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus, influenza A virus, and yellow fever virus. Identification of LY6E as a potent restriction factor of coronaviruses expands the biological function of LY6E and sheds new light on the immunopathogenesis of human coronavirus infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00562-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7459569PMC
August 2020

Bat SARS-Like WIV1 coronavirus uses the ACE2 of multiple animal species as receptor and evades IFITM3 restriction TMPRSS2 activation of membrane fusion.

Emerg Microbes Infect 2020 Dec;9(1):1567-1579

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Canada.

Diverse SARS-like coronaviruses (SL-CoVs) have been identified from bats and other animal species. Like SARS-CoV, some bat SL-CoVs, such as WIV1, also use angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) from human and bat as entry receptor. However, whether these viruses can also use the ACE2 of other animal species as their receptor remains to be determined. We report herein that WIV1 has a broader tropism to ACE2 orthologs than SARS-CoV isolate Tor2. Among the 9 ACE2 orthologs examined, human ACE2 exhibited the highest efficiency to mediate the infection of WIV1 pseudotyped virus. Our findings thus imply that WIV1 has the potential to infect a wide range of wild animals and may directly jump to humans. We also showed that cell entry of WIV1 could be restricted by interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs). However, WIV1 could exploit the airway protease TMPRSS2 to partially evade the IFITM3 restriction. Interestingly, we also found that amphotericin B could enhance the infectious entry of SARS-CoVs and SL-CoVs by evading IFITM3-mediated restriction. Collectively, our findings further underscore the risk of exposure to animal SL-CoVs and highlight the vulnerability of patients who take amphotericin B to infection by SL-CoVs, including the most recently emerging (SARS-CoV-2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2020.1787797DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473123PMC
December 2020

Clinical value of next-generation sequencing compared to cytogenetics in patients with suspected myelodysplastic syndrome.

Br J Haematol 2021 02 25;192(4):729-736. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) increasingly influences diagnosis, prognosis and management of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In addition to marrow morphology and flow cytometry, our institution performs cytogenetics (CG) and NGS-based testing routinely in patients with suspected MDS. We evaluated the relative value of NGS in the assessment of patients with suspected MDS. We initially compared the diagnostic and prognostic information derived from CG and NGS in 134 patients. NGS enhanced the diagnostic yield compared to CG for clonal myeloid disorders (sensitivity 77% vs. 42·2%; specificity 90·2% vs. 78%; positive predictive value 92·8% vs. 76%; and negative predictive value 70·8% vs. 45·5%). The identification of poor prognosis mutations by NGS altered risk category in 27/39 (69·2%) patients with MDS with good/intermediate risk CG. Subsequently, we prospectively evaluated 70 patients with suspected MDS using an 'NGS-first approach' with CG restricted to samples with morphological abnormalities. We rarely identified mutations or CG abnormalities in patients without dysplastic features. NGS has a superior diagnostic performance compared to CG in patients with suspected MDS. We estimate that by using an 'NGS-first approach' we could reduce karyotyping by approximately 30%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16891DOI Listing
February 2021

Genetic and epigenetic profiling of BRCA1/2 in ovarian tumors reveals additive diagnostic yield and evidence of a genomic BRCA1/2 DNA methylation signature.

J Hum Genet 2020 Oct 1;65(10):865-873. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Molecular Diagnostics Division, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada.

Poly-ADP-ribose-polymerase inhibitor (PARPi) treatment is indicated for advanced-stage ovarian tumors with BRCA1/2 deficiency. The "BRCAness" status is thought to be attributed to a tumor phenotype associated with a specific epigenomic DNA methylation profile. Here, we examined the diagnostic impact of combined BRCA1/2 sequence, copy number, and promoter DNA methylation analysis, and evaluated whether genomic DNA methylation patterns can predict the BRCAness in ovarian tumors. DNA sequencing of 172 human tissue samples of advanced-stage ovarian adenocarcinoma identified 36 samples with a clinically significant tier 1/2 sequence variants (point mutations and in/dels) and 9 samples with a CNV causing a loss of function in BRCA1/2. DNA methylation analysis of the promoter of BRCA1/2 identified promoter hypermethylation of BRCA1 in two mutation-negative samples. Computational modeling of genome-wide methylation markers, measured using Infinium EPIC arrays, resulted in a total accuracy of 0.75, sensitivity: 0.83, specificity: 0.64, positive predictive value: 0.76, negative predictive value: 0.74, and area under the receiver's operating curve (AUC): 0.77, in classifying tumors harboring a BRCA1/2 defect from the rest. These findings indicate that the assessment of CNV and promoter DNA methylation in BRCA1/2 increases the cumulative diagnostic yield by 10%, compared with the 20% yield achieved by sequence variant analysis alone. Genomic DNA methylation data can partially predict BRCAness in ovarian tumors; however, further investigation in expanded BRCA1/2 cohorts is needed, and the effect of other double strand DNA repair gene defects in these tumors warrants further investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s10038-020-0780-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7449880PMC
October 2020

Comprehensive genetic sequence and copy number analysis for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease in a Canadian cohort of 2517 patients.

J Med Genet 2021 04 6;58(4):284-288. Epub 2020 May 6.

Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Division of Molecular Diagnostics, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common Mendelian disorders characterised by genetic heterogeneity, progressive distal muscle weakness and atrophy, foot deformities and distal sensory loss. In this report, we describe genetic testing data including comprehensive sequencing and copy number analysis of 34 CMT-related genes in a Canadian cohort of patients with suspected CMT. We have demonstrated a notable gender testing bias, with an overall diagnostic yield of 15% in males and 21% in females. We have identified a large number of novel pathogenic variants as well as variants of unknown clinical significance in CMT-related genes. In this largest to date analysis of gene CNVs in CMT, in addition to the common PMP22 deletion/duplication, we have described a significant contribution of pathogenic CNVs in several CMT-related genes. This study significantly expand the mutational spectrum of CMT genes, while demonstrating the clinical utility of a comprehensive sequence and copy number next-generation sequencing-based clinical genetic testing in patients with suspected diagnosis of CMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2019-106641DOI Listing
April 2021

Evaluation of DNA Methylation Episignatures for Diagnosis and Phenotype Correlations in 42 Mendelian Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 03 27;106(3):356-370. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Université de Paris, Epigénétique et Destin Cellulaire, CNRS, 75013 Paris, France.

Genetic syndromes frequently present with overlapping clinical features and inconclusive or ambiguous genetic findings which can confound accurate diagnosis and clinical management. An expanding number of genetic syndromes have been shown to have unique genomic DNA methylation patterns (called "episignatures"). Peripheral blood episignatures can be used for diagnostic testing as well as for the interpretation of ambiguous genetic test results. We present here an approach to episignature mapping in 42 genetic syndromes, which has allowed the identification of 34 robust disease-specific episignatures. We examine emerging patterns of overlap, as well as similarities and hierarchical relationships across these episignatures, to highlight their key features as they are related to genetic heterogeneity, dosage effect, unaffected carrier status, and incomplete penetrance. We demonstrate the necessity of multiclass modeling for accurate genetic variant classification and show how disease classification using a single episignature at a time can sometimes lead to classification errors in closely related episignatures. We demonstrate the utility of this tool in resolving ambiguous clinical cases and identification of previously undiagnosed cases through mass screening of a large cohort of subjects with developmental delays and congenital anomalies. This study more than doubles the number of published syndromes with DNA methylation episignatures and, most significantly, opens new avenues for accurate diagnosis and clinical assessment in individuals affected by these disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.01.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058829PMC
March 2020

GILT restricts the cellular entry mediated by the envelope glycoproteins of SARS-CoV, Ebola virus and Lassa fever virus.

Emerg Microbes Infect 2019 ;8(1):1511-1523

Institute of Infectious disease, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing , People's Republic of China.

Interferons (IFNs) control viral infections by inducing expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) that restrict distinct steps of viral replication. We report herein that gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT), a lysosome-associated ISG, restricts the infectious entry of selected enveloped RNA viruses. Specifically, we demonstrated that GILT was constitutively expressed in lung epithelial cells and fibroblasts and its expression could be further induced by type II interferon. While overexpression of GILT inhibited the entry mediated by envelope glycoproteins of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Ebola virus (EBOV) and Lassa fever virus (LASV), depletion of GILT enhanced the entry mediated by these viral envelope glycoproteins. Furthermore, mutations that impaired the thiol reductase activity or disrupted the N-linked glycosylation, a posttranslational modification essential for its lysosomal localization, largely compromised GILT restriction of viral entry. We also found that the induction of GILT expression reduced the level and activity of cathepsin L, which is required for the entry of these RNA viruses in lysosomes. Our data indicate that GILT is a novel antiviral ISG that specifically inhibits the entry of selected enveloped RNA viruses in lysosomes disruption of cathepsin L metabolism and function and may play a role in immune control and pathogenesis of these viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2019.1677446DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6818130PMC
January 2020

Genome-wide DNA methylation and RNA analyses enable reclassification of two variants of uncertain significance in a patient with clinical Kabuki syndrome.

Hum Mutat 2019 10 3;40(10):1684-1689. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Nontruncating sequence variants represent a major challenge in variant interpretation and classification. Here, we report a patient with features of Kabuki syndrome who carries two rare heterozygous variants in KMT2D: c.12935C>T, p.(Ser4312Phe) and c.15785-10T>G. The clinical significance of these variants were discordantly interpreted by different diagnostic laboratories. Parental testing showed that the missense variant was inherited from the father with a mild Kabuki phenotype and the intronic variant from the mother with mosaic status. Through genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of peripheral blood, we confirmed that the proband exhibited a previously described episignature of Kabuki syndrome. Parental samples had normal DNA methylation profiles, thus ruling out the involvement of the paternally inherited missense variant. RNA analysis revealed that the intronic change resulted in exon 49 skipping and frameshift, thereby providing a molecular diagnosis of Kabuki syndrome. This study demonstrates the utility of epigenomic and RNA analyses in resolving ambiguous clinical cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23833DOI Listing
October 2019

Implementation of an NGS-based sequencing and gene fusion panel for clinical screening of patients with suspected hematologic malignancies.

Eur J Haematol 2019 Sep 30;103(3):178-189. Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Objectives: The diagnosis of hematologic malignancies integrates multiple diagnostic and clinical disciplines. Historically, targeted (single-analyte) genetic testing has been used as reflex to initial prescreening by other diagnostic modalities including flow cytometry, anatomic pathology, and clinical cytogenetics. Given the wide range of mutations associated with hematologic malignancies a DNA/RNA-based NGS panel can provide a more effective and economical approach to comprehensive testing of patients as an initial, tier-1 screen.

Methods: Using a cohort of 380 patients, we performed clinical validation of a gene panel designed to assess 40 genes (DNA), and 29 fusion driver genes with over 600 gene fusion partners (RNA), including sample exchange data across three clinical laboratories, and correlation with cytogenetic testing results.

Results: The clinical validation of this technology demonstrated that its accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity are comparable to the majority of targeted single-gene approaches, while assessment of the initial patient cohort data demonstrated a high diagnostic yield of 50.5%.

Conclusions: Implementation of a tier-1 NGS-based protocol for gene panel screening provides a comprehensive alternative to targeted molecular testing in patients with suspected hematologic malignancies, with increased diagnostic yield, scalability, reproducibility, and cost effectiveness, making it ideally suited for implementation in clinical laboratories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13272DOI Listing
September 2019

Diagnostic Utility of Genome-wide DNA Methylation Testing in Genetically Unsolved Individuals with Suspected Hereditary Conditions.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 04 28;104(4):685-700. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada; Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON N6A 5W9, Canada. Electronic address:

Conventional genetic testing of individuals with neurodevelopmental presentations and congenital anomalies (ND/CAs), i.e., the analysis of sequence and copy number variants, leaves a substantial proportion of them unexplained. Some of these cases have been shown to result from DNA methylation defects at a single locus (epi-variants), while others can exhibit syndrome-specific DNA methylation changes across multiple loci (epi-signatures). Here, we investigate the clinical diagnostic utility of genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of peripheral blood in unresolved ND/CAs. We generate a computational model enabling concurrent detection of 14 syndromes using DNA methylation data with full accuracy. We demonstrate the ability of this model in resolving 67 individuals with uncertain clinical diagnoses, some of whom had variants of unknown clinical significance (VUS) in the related genes. We show that the provisional diagnoses can be ruled out in many of the case subjects, some of whom are shown by our model to have other diseases initially not considered. By applying this model to a cohort of 965 ND/CA-affected subjects without a previous diagnostic assumption and a separate assessment of rare epi-variants in this cohort, we identify 15 case subjects with syndromic Mendelian disorders, 12 case subjects with imprinting and trinucleotide repeat expansion disorders, as well as 106 case subjects with rare epi-variants, a portion of which involved genes clinically or functionally linked to the subjects' phenotypes. This study demonstrates that genomic DNA methylation analysis can facilitate the molecular diagnosis of unresolved clinical cases and highlights the potential value of epigenomic testing in the routine clinical assessment of ND/CAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.03.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451739PMC
April 2019

BAFopathies' DNA methylation epi-signatures demonstrate diagnostic utility and functional continuum of Coffin-Siris and Nicolaides-Baraitser syndromes.

Nat Commun 2018 11 20;9(1):4885. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, N6A 5W9, ON, Canada.

Coffin-Siris and Nicolaides-Baraitser syndromes (CSS and NCBRS) are Mendelian disorders caused by mutations in subunits of the BAF chromatin remodeling complex. We report overlapping peripheral blood DNA methylation epi-signatures in individuals with various subtypes of CSS (ARID1B, SMARCB1, and SMARCA4) and NCBRS (SMARCA2). We demonstrate that the degree of similarity in the epi-signatures of some CSS subtypes and NCBRS can be greater than that within CSS, indicating a link in the functional basis of the two syndromes. We show that chromosome 6q25 microdeletion syndrome, harboring ARID1B deletions, exhibits a similar CSS/NCBRS methylation profile. Specificity of this epi-signature was confirmed across a wide range of neurodevelopmental conditions including other chromatin remodeling and epigenetic machinery disorders. We demonstrate that a machine-learning model trained on this DNA methylation profile can resolve ambiguous clinical cases, reclassify those with variants of unknown significance, and identify previously undiagnosed subjects through targeted population screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07193-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6244416PMC
November 2018

Genomic DNA Methylation-Derived Algorithm Enables Accurate Detection of Malignant Prostate Tissues.

Front Oncol 2018 23;8:100. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, ON, Canada.

Introduction: The current methodology involving diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa) relies on the pathology examination of prostate needle biopsies, a method with high false negative rates partly due to temporospatial, molecular, and morphological heterogeneity of prostate adenocarcinoma. It is postulated that molecular markers have a potential to assign diagnosis to a considerable portion of undetected prostate tumors. This study examines the genome-wide DNA methylation changes in PCa in search of genomic markers for the development of a diagnostic algorithm for PCa screening.

Methods: Archival PCa and normal tissues were assessed using genomic DNA methylation arrays. Differentially methylated sites and regions (DMRs) were used for functional assessment, gene-set enrichment and protein interaction analyses, and examination of transcription factor-binding patterns. Raw signal intensity data were used for identification of recurrent copy number variations (CNVs). Non-redundant fully differentiating cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites (CpGs), which did not overlap CNV segments, were used in an L1 regularized logistic regression model (LASSO) to train a classification algorithm. Validation of this algorithm was performed using a large external cohort of benign and tumor prostate arrays.

Results: Approximately 6,000 probes and 600 genomic regions showed significant DNA methylation changes, primarily involving hypermethylation. Gene-set enrichment and protein interaction analyses found an overrepresentation of genes related to cell communications, neurogenesis, and proliferation. Motif enrichment analysis demonstrated enrichment of tumor suppressor-binding sites nearby DMRs. Several of these regions were also found to contain copy number amplifications. Using four non-redundant fully differentiating CpGs, we trained a classification model with 100% accuracy in discriminating tumors from benign samples. Validation of this algorithm using an external cohort of 234 tumors and 92 benign samples yielded 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity. The model was found to be highly sensitive to detect metastatic lesions in bone, lymph node, and soft tissue, while being specific enough to differentiate the benign hyperplasia of prostate from tumor.

Conclusion: A considerable component of PCa DNA methylation profile represent driver events potentially established/maintained by disruption of tumor suppressor activity. As few as four CpGs from this profile can be used for screening of PCa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5925605PMC
April 2018

Peripheral blood epi-signature of Claes-Jensen syndrome enables sensitive and specific identification of patients and healthy carriers with pathogenic mutations in .

Clin Epigenetics 2018 14;10:21. Epub 2018 Feb 14.

1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario Canada.

Background: Claes-Jensen syndrome is an X-linked inherited intellectual disability caused by mutations in the gene. Kdm5c is a histone lysine demethylase involved in histone modifications and chromatin remodeling. Males with hemizygous mutations in present with intellectual disability and facial dysmorphism, while most heterozygous female carriers are asymptomatic. We hypothesized that loss of Kdm5c function may influence other components of the epigenomic machinery including DNA methylation in affected patients.

Results: Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of 7 male patients affected with Claes-Jensen syndrome and 56 age- and sex-matched controls identified a specific DNA methylation defect (epi-signature) in the peripheral blood of these patients, including 1769 individual CpGs and 9 genomic regions. Six healthy female carriers showed less pronounced but distinctive changes in the same regions enabling their differentiation from both patients and controls. Highly specific computational model using the most significant methylation changes demonstrated 100% accuracy in differentiating patients, carriers, and controls in the training cohort, which was confirmed on a separate cohort of patients and carriers. The 100% specificity of this unique epi-signature was further confirmed on additional 500 unaffected controls and 600 patients with intellectual disability and developmental delay, including other patient cohorts with previously described epi-signatures.

Conclusion: Peripheral blood epi-signature in Claes-Jensen syndrome can be used for molecular diagnosis and carrier identification and assist with interpretation of genetic variants of unknown clinical significance in the gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-018-0453-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813334PMC
February 2019

Genomic DNA Methylation Signatures Enable Concurrent Diagnosis and Clinical Genetic Variant Classification in Neurodevelopmental Syndromes.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 01;102(1):156-174

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, ON N6A5C1, Canada; Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON N6A5W9, Canada. Electronic address:

Pediatric developmental syndromes present with systemic, complex, and often overlapping clinical features that are not infrequently a consequence of Mendelian inheritance of mutations in genes involved in DNA methylation, establishment of histone modifications, and chromatin remodeling (the "epigenetic machinery"). The mechanistic cross-talk between histone modification and DNA methylation suggests that these syndromes might be expected to display specific DNA methylation signatures that are a reflection of those primary errors associated with chromatin dysregulation. Given the interrelated functions of these chromatin regulatory proteins, we sought to identify DNA methylation epi-signatures that could provide syndrome-specific biomarkers to complement standard clinical diagnostics. In the present study, we examined peripheral blood samples from a large cohort of individuals encompassing 14 Mendelian disorders displaying mutations in the genes encoding proteins of the epigenetic machinery. We demonstrated that specific but partially overlapping DNA methylation signatures are associated with many of these conditions. The degree of overlap among these epi-signatures is minimal, further suggesting that, consistent with the initial event, the downstream changes are unique to every syndrome. In addition, by combining these epi-signatures, we have demonstrated that a machine learning tool can be built to concurrently screen for multiple syndromes with high sensitivity and specificity, and we highlight the utility of this tool in solving ambiguous case subjects presenting with variants of unknown significance, along with its ability to generate accurate predictions for subjects presenting with the overlapping clinical and molecular features associated with the disruption of the epigenetic machinery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.12.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5777983PMC
January 2018

Identification of Residues Controlling Restriction versus Enhancing Activities of IFITM Proteins on Entry of Human Coronaviruses.

J Virol 2018 03 26;92(6). Epub 2018 Feb 26.

Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

Interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) are restriction factors that inhibit the infectious entry of many enveloped RNA viruses. However, we demonstrated previously that human IFITM2 and IFITM3 are essential host factors facilitating the entry of human coronavirus (HCoV) OC43. In a continuing effort to decipher the molecular mechanism underlying IFITM differential modulation of HCoV entry, we investigated the roles of structural motifs important for IFITM protein posttranslational modifications, intracellular trafficking, and oligomerization in modulating the entry of five HCoVs. We found that three distinct mutations in IFITM1 or IFITM3 converted the host restriction factors to enhance entry driven by the spike proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and/or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). First, replacement of IFITM3 tyrosine 20 with either alanine or aspartic acid to mimic unphosphorylated or phosphorylated IFITM3 reduced its activity to inhibit the entry of HCoV-NL63 and -229E but enhanced the entry of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Second, replacement of IFITM3 tyrosine 99 with either alanine or aspartic acid reduced its activity to inhibit the entry of HCoV-NL63 and SARS-CoV but promoted the entry of MERS-CoV. Third, deletion of the carboxyl-terminal 12 amino acid residues from IFITM1 enhanced the entry of MERS-CoV and HCoV-OC43. These findings suggest that these residues and structural motifs of IFITM proteins are key determinants for modulating the entry of HCoVs, most likely through interaction with viral and/or host cellular components at the site of viral entry to modulate the fusion of viral envelope and cellular membranes. The differential effects of IFITM proteins on the entry of HCoVs that utilize divergent entry pathways and membrane fusion mechanisms even when using the same receptor make the HCoVs a valuable system for comparative investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying IFITM restriction or promotion of virus entry into host cells. Identification of three distinct mutations that converted IFITM1 or IFITM3 from inhibitors to enhancers of MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV spike protein-mediated entry revealed key structural motifs or residues determining the biological activities of IFITM proteins. These findings have thus paved the way for further identification of viral and host factors that interact with those structural motifs of IFITM proteins to differentially modulate the infectious entry of HCoVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01535-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5827390PMC
March 2018

The defining DNA methylation signature of Kabuki syndrome enables functional assessment of genetic variants of unknown clinical significance.

Epigenetics 2017 7;12(11):923-933. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

a Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine , Western University , London , ON , Canada.

Kabuki syndrome (KS) is caused by mutations in KMT2D, which is a histone methyltransferase involved in methylation of H3K4, a histone marker associated with DNA methylation. Analysis of >450,000 CpGs in 24 KS patients with pathogenic mutations in KMT2D and 216 controls, identified 24 genomic regions, along with 1,504 CpG sites with significant DNA methylation changes including a number of Hox genes and the MYO1F gene. Using the most differentiating and significant probes and regions we developed a "methylation variant pathogenicity (MVP) score," which enables 100% sensitive and specific identification of individuals with KS, which was confirmed using multiple public and internal patient DNA methylation databases. We also demonstrated the ability of the MVP score to accurately reclassify variants of unknown significance in subjects with apparent clinical features of KS, enabling its potential use in molecular diagnostics. These findings provide novel insights into the molecular etiology of KS and illustrate that DNA methylation patterns can be interpreted as 'epigenetic echoes' in certain clinical disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15592294.2017.1381807DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788422PMC
December 2018

Clinical Validation of Copy Number Variant Detection from Targeted Next-Generation Sequencing Panels.

J Mol Diagn 2017 11 15;19(6):905-920. Epub 2017 Aug 15.

Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has rapidly replaced Sanger sequencing in the assessment of sequence variations in clinical genetics laboratories. One major limitation of current NGS approaches is the ability to detect copy number variations (CNVs) approximately >50 bp. Because these represent a major mutational burden in many genetic disorders, parallel CNV assessment using alternate supplemental methods, along with the NGS analysis, is normally required, resulting in increased labor, costs, and turnaround times. The objective of this study was to clinically validate a novel CNV detection algorithm using targeted clinical NGS gene panel data. We have applied this approach in a retrospective cohort of 391 samples and a prospective cohort of 2375 samples and found a 100% sensitivity (95% CI, 89%-100%) for 37 unique events and a high degree of specificity to detect CNVs across nine distinct targeted NGS gene panels. This NGS CNV pipeline enables stand-alone first-tier assessment for CNV and sequence variants in a clinical laboratory setting, dispensing with the need for parallel CNV analysis using classic techniques, such as microarray, long-range PCR, or multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. This NGS CNV pipeline can also be applied to the assessment of complex genomic regions, including pseudogenic DNA sequences, such as the PMS2CL gene, and to mitochondrial genome heteroplasmy detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2017.07.004DOI Listing
November 2017

Clinical Validation of a Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Assay for Molecular Diagnosis of Imprinting Disorders.

J Mol Diagn 2017 11 12;19(6):848-856. Epub 2017 Aug 12.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Molecular Diagnostics Division, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Genomic imprinting involves a DNA methylation-dependent and parent-of-origin-specific regulation of gene expression. Clinical assays for imprinting disorders are genomic locus, disorder, and molecular defect specific. We aimed to clinically validate a genome-wide approach for simultaneous testing of common imprinting disorders in a single assay. Using genome-wide DNA methylation arrays, epigenetic profiles from peripheral blood of patients with Angelman, Prader-Willi, Beckwith-Wiedemann, or Silver-Russell syndromes were compared to a reference cohort of 361 unaffected individuals. The analysis was of developmental delay and intellectual disabilities. This approach has allowed 100% sensitivity and specificity in detecting imprinting defects in all 28 patients and enabled identification of defects beyond the classically tested imprinted loci. Analysis of the cohort of patients with developmental delay and intellectual disabilities identified two patients with Prader-Willi syndrome, one with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and several other patients with DNA methylation defects in novel putative imprinting loci. These findings demonstrate clinical validation of a sensitive and specific genome-wide DNA methylation array-based approach for molecular testing of imprinting disorders to allow simultaneous assessment of genome-wide epigenetic defects in a single analytical procedure, enabling replacement of multiple locus-specific molecular tests while allowing discovery of novel clinical epigenomic associations and differential diagnosis of other epigenomic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2017.07.002DOI Listing
November 2017

Inhibitors of glutamate release from breast cancer cells; new targets for cancer-induced bone-pain.

Sci Rep 2015 Feb 11;5:8380. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Glutamate is an important signaling molecule in a wide variety of tissues. Aberrant glutamatergic signaling disrupts normal tissue homeostasis and induces several disruptive pathological conditions including pain. Breast cancer cells secrete high levels of glutamate and often metastasize to bone. Exogenous glutamate can disrupt normal bone turnover and may be responsible for cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP). CIBP is a significant co-morbidity that affects quality of life for many advanced-stage breast cancer patients. Current treatment options are commonly accompanied by serious side-effects that negatively impact patient care. Identifying small molecule inhibitors of glutamate release from aggressive breast cancer cells advances a novel, mechanistic approach to targeting CIBP that could advance treatment for several pathological conditions. Using high-throughput screening, we investigated the ability of approximately 30,000 compounds from the Canadian Compound Collection to reduce glutamate release from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. This line is known to secrete high levels of glutamate and has been demonstrated to induce CIBP by this mechanism. Positive chemical hits were based on the potency of each molecule relative to a known pharmacological inhibitor of glutamate release, sulfasalazine. Efficacy was confirmed and drug-like molecules were identified as potent inhibitors of glutamate secretion from MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and Mat-Ly-Lu cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep08380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4323637PMC
February 2015

Inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum-resident glucosidases impairs severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and human coronavirus NL63 spike protein-mediated entry by altering the glycan processing of angiotensin I-converting enzyme 2.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2015 Jan 27;59(1):206-16. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Drexel Institute for Biotechnology and Virology Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident glucosidases I and II sequentially trim the three terminal glucose moieties on the N-linked glycans attached to nascent glycoproteins. These reactions are the first steps of N-linked glycan processing and are essential for proper folding and function of many glycoproteins. Because most of the viral envelope glycoproteins contain N-linked glycans, inhibition of ER glucosidases with derivatives of 1-deoxynojirimycin, i.e., iminosugars, efficiently disrupts the morphogenesis of a broad spectrum of enveloped viruses. However, like viral envelope proteins, the cellular receptors of many viruses are also glycoproteins. It is therefore possible that inhibition of ER glucosidases not only compromises virion production but also disrupts expression and function of viral receptors and thus inhibits virus entry into host cells. Indeed, we demonstrate here that iminosugar treatment altered the N-linked glycan structure of angiotensin I-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which did not affect its expression on the cell surface or its binding of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) spike glycoprotein. However, alteration of N-linked glycans of ACE2 impaired its ability to support the transduction of SARS-CoV and human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) spike glycoprotein-pseudotyped lentiviral particles by disruption of the viral envelope protein-triggered membrane fusion. Hence, in addition to reducing the production of infectious virions, inhibition of ER glucosidases also impairs the entry of selected viruses via a post-receptor-binding mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.03999-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291352PMC
January 2015

[Sequence aanlysis of intergenic region of rice stripe virus RNA4: evidence for mixed infection and genomic variation].

Wei Sheng Wu Xue Bao 2003 Oct;43(5):577-85

Institute of Plant Virology, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China.

The intergenic region (IR) of the RNA4 of 22 isolates of Rice stripe virus (RSV) in China was cloned and sequenced. The IR sequences were compared with one another and with that from Japan. Sequence comparisons showed that these isolates could be divided into three different types, with the IR length of 634 bp, 654 bp and 732 bp, respectively. It is interesting to note three different types all occurred in Yunnan RSV natural population, whereas other province only existed 654 bp type length isolates. Mixed infections with different types of IR length coexisting in some isolates in Yunnan was observed. IR sequences were not more conserved (83% - 100%) among the populations of RSV from China than with those of RSV isolates from Japan (83% - 94%). There were two important structure characteristics in IRs sequences. Firstly, there was a-19 nt insertion in 654 bp type isolates and a-103 nt in 732 bp type isolates in comparison to 634 bp type isolates. This inserted sequences were rather highly conserved. Blast analysis indicates the 16 nt (AGAAACATGAGAGTA) in 19 nt insertation was very similar in sequence to wheat cDNA library; and the 20 nt (AGAATTGCCTTGGTGTTAT) in 103 nt insertion was identical to a stretch sequences of barley cDNA library. Recombination hot-spot sequences existed in RNA4 IR. Secondly, IRs sequence was rich in U and A residues where two distant hairpin structures could be formed with computer-assisted folding analysis. One was highly conserved and stable, but the other was rather unstable because of bases variation. It is believed that this stabilised hairpin structure, rather than a sequence motif, might serve as a transcription terminator during the synthesis of mRNAs from the ambisense segments. Negative selection constraints imposed by secondary structure might have maintained the conserved sequences. In this paper, the relationship between the lowest free energy of the unstable hairpin structures and the different pathogenesis among some isolates was also discussed in this paper.
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October 2003
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