Hum Mutat 2005 Nov;26(5):477-86
Genetic Health Services Victoria and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Australia.
The need to detect clinically significant segmental aneuploidies beyond the range of light microscopy demands the development of new cost-efficient, sensitive, and robust analytical techniques. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) has already been shown to be particularly effective and flexible for measuring copy numbers in a multiplex format. Previous attempts to develop a reliable MLPA to assay all chromosome subtelomeric regions have been confounded by unforeseen copy number variation in some genes that are very close to the telomeres in healthy individuals. We addressed this shortcoming by substituting all known polymorphic probes and using two complementary multiplex assays to minimize the likelihood of false results. We developed this new quantitative MLPA strategy for two important diagnostic applications. First, in a group of cases with high clinical suspicion of a chromosome abnormality but normal, high-resolution karyotypes, MLPA detected subtelomeric abnormalities in three patients. Two were de novo terminal deletions (del(4p) and del(1p)), and one was a derivative chromosome 1 from a maternal t(1p;17p). The range of these segmental aneuploidies was 1.8-6.6 Mb, and none were visible on retrospective microscopy. Second, in a group of six patients with apparently de novo single-chromosome abnormalities containing anonymous chromatin, MLPA identified two cases with simple intrachromosomal duplications: dup(6p) and dup(8q). Three cases showed derivative chromosomes from translocations involving the distal regions of 9q and 4q, 5p and 11q, and 6q and 3p. One case showed a nonreciprocal, interchromosomal translocation of the distal region of 10p-7p. All abnormalities in both groups were confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs). This quantitative MLPA technique for subtelomeric assays is compared with previously described alternative techniques.