J Med Genet 2019 Aug 28;56(8):526-535. Epub 2019 Mar 28.
Service de Génétique, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Bron, France.
Background: Balanced chromosomal rearrangements associated with abnormal phenotype are rare events, but may be challenging for genetic counselling, since molecular characterisation of breakpoints is not performed routinely. We used next-generation sequencing to characterise breakpoints of balanced chromosomal rearrangements at the molecular level in patients with intellectual disability and/or congenital anomalies.
Methods: Breakpoints were characterised by a paired-end low depth whole genome sequencing (WGS) strategy and validated by Sanger sequencing. Expression study of disrupted and neighbouring genes was performed by RT-qPCR from blood or lymphoblastoid cell line RNA.
Results: Among the 55 patients included (41 reciprocal translocations, 4 inversions, 2 insertions and 8 complex chromosomal rearrangements), we were able to detect 89% of chromosomal rearrangements (49/55). Molecular signatures at the breakpoints suggested that DNA breaks arose randomly and that there was no major influence of repeated elements. Non-homologous end-joining appeared as the main mechanism of repair (55% of rearrangements). A diagnosis could be established in 22/49 patients (44.8%), 15 by gene disruption (, , , , , , , , , , , ) and 7 by position effect (, , , ). In addition, 16 new candidate genes were identified. Systematic gene expression studies further supported these results. We also showed the contribution of topologically associated domain maps to WGS data interpretation.
Conclusion: Paired-end WGS is a valid strategy and may be used for structural variation characterisation in a clinical setting.