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Concept: Copy number variation


Little is known about the amount and infectiousness of influenza virus shed into exhaled breath. This contributes to uncertainty about the importance of airborne influenza transmission. We screened 355 symptomatic volunteers with acute respiratory illness and report 142 cases with confirmed influenza infection who provided 218 paired nasopharyngeal (NP) and 30-minute breath samples (coarse >5-µm and fine ≤5-µm fractions) on days 1-3 after symptom onset. We assessed viral RNA copy number for all samples and cultured NP swabs and fine aerosols. We recovered infectious virus from 52 (39%) of the fine aerosols and 150 (89%) of the NP swabs with valid cultures. The geometric mean RNA copy numbers were 3.8 × 104/30-minutes fine-, 1.2 × 104/30-minutes coarse-aerosol sample, and 8.2 × 108 per NP swab. Fine- and coarse-aerosol viral RNA were positively associated with body mass index and number of coughs and negatively associated with increasing days since symptom onset in adjusted models. Fine-aerosol viral RNA was also positively associated with having influenza vaccination for both the current and prior season. NP swab viral RNA was positively associated with upper respiratory symptoms and negatively associated with age but was not significantly associated with fine- or coarse-aerosol viral RNA or their predictors. Sneezing was rare, and sneezing and coughing were not necessary for infectious aerosol generation. Our observations suggest that influenza infection in the upper and lower airways are compartmentalized and independent.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Infectious disease, Copy number variation, Virus, Influenza, Body mass index, Transmission and infection of H5N1


Genomic instability is a hallmark of cancer often associated with poor patient outcome and resistance to targeted therapy. Assessment of genomic instability in bulk tumor or biopsy can be complicated due to sample availability, surrounding tissue contamination, or tumor heterogeneity. The Epic Sciences circulating tumor cell (CTC) platform utilizes a non-enrichment based approach for the detection and characterization of rare tumor cells in clinical blood samples. Genomic profiling of individual CTCs could provide a portrait of cancer heterogeneity, identify clonal and sub-clonal drivers, and monitor disease progression. To that end, we developed a single cell Copy Number Variation (CNV) Assay to evaluate genomic instability and CNVs in patient CTCs. For proof of concept, prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP, PC3 and VCaP, were spiked into healthy donor blood to create mock patient-like samples for downstream single cell genomic analysis. In addition, samples from seven metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients were included to evaluate clinical feasibility. CTCs were enumerated and characterized using the Epic Sciences CTC Platform. Identified single CTCs were recovered, whole genome amplified, and sequenced using an Illumina NextSeq 500. CTCs were then analyzed for genome-wide copy number variations, followed by genomic instability analyses. Large-scale state transitions (LSTs) were measured as surrogates of genomic instability. Genomic instability scores were determined reproducibly for LNCaP, PC3, and VCaP, and were higher than white blood cell (WBC) controls from healthy donors. A wide range of LST scores were observed within and among the seven mCRPC patient samples. On the gene level, loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor was observed in PC3 and 5/7 (71%) patients. Amplification of the androgen receptor (AR) gene was observed in VCaP cells and 5/7 (71%) mCRPC patients. Using an in silico down-sampling approach, we determined that DNA copy number and genomic instability can be detected with as few as 350K sequencing reads. The data shown here demonstrate the feasibility of detecting genomic instabilities at the single cell level using the Epic Sciences CTC Platform. Understanding CTC heterogeneity has great potential for patient stratification prior to treatment with targeted therapies and for monitoring disease evolution during treatment.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Cancer, Oncology, Copy number variation, Human genome, Prostate cancer, Tumor


In order to explore the diversity and selective signatures of duplication and deletion human copy number variants (CNVs), we sequenced 236 individuals from 125 distinct human populations. We observed that duplications exhibit fundamentally different population genetic and selective signatures than deletions and are more likely to be stratified between human populations. Through reconstruction of the ancestral human genome, we identify megabases of DNA lost in different human lineages and pinpoint large duplications that introgressed from the extinct Denisova lineage now found at high frequency exclusively in Oceanic populations. We find that the proportion of CNV base pairs to single nucleotide variant base pairs is greater among non-Africans than it is among African populations, but we conclude that this difference is likely due to unique aspects of non-African population history as opposed to differences in CNV load.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Copy number variation, Human genome, Genome, Base pair


Left-sided congenital heart disease (CHD) encompasses a spectrum of malformations that range from bicuspid aortic valve to hypoplastic left heart syndrome. It contributes significantly to infant mortality and has serious implications in adult cardiology. Although left-sided CHD is known to be highly heritable, the underlying genetic determinants are largely unidentified. In this study, we sought to determine the impact of structural genomic variation on left-sided CHD and compared multiplex families (464 individuals with 174 affecteds (37.5%) in 59 multiplex families and 8 trios) to 1,582 well-phenotyped controls. 73 unique inherited or de novo CNVs in 54 individuals were identified in the left-sided CHD cohort. After stringent filtering, our gene inventory reveals 25 new candidates for LS-CHD pathogenesis, such as SMC1A, MFAP4, and CTHRC1, and overlaps with several known syndromic loci. Conservative estimation examining the overlap of the prioritized gene content with CNVs present only in affected individuals in our cohort implies a strong effect for unique CNVs in at least 10% of left-sided CHD cases. Enrichment testing of gene content in all identified CNVs showed a significant association with angiogenesis. In this first family-based CNV study of left-sided CHD, we found that both co-segregating and de novo events associate with disease in a complex fashion at structural genomic level. Often viewed as an anatomically circumscript disease, a subset of left-sided CHD may in fact reflect more general genetic perturbations of angiogenesis and/or vascular biology.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Copy number variation, Human genome, Biology, Heart, Aortic valve, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome


Iron overload has been associated with carcinogenesis in humans. Intraperitoneal administration of ferric nitrilotriacetate initiates a Fenton reaction in renal proximal tubules of rodents that ultimately leads to a high incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after repeated treatments. We performed high-resolution microarray comparative genomic hybridization to identify characteristics in the genomic profiles of this oxidative stress-induced rat RCCs. The results revealed extensive large-scale genomic alterations with a preference for deletions. Deletions and amplifications were numerous and sometimes fragmented, demonstrating that a Fenton reaction is a cause of such genomic alterations in vivo. Frequency plotting indicated that two of the most commonly altered loci corresponded to a Cdkn2a/2b deletion and a Met amplification. Tumor sizes were proportionally associated with Met expression and/or amplification, and clustering analysis confirmed our results. Furthermore, we developed a procedure to compare whole genomic patterns of the copy number alterations among different species based on chromosomal syntenic relationship. Patterns of the rat RCCs showed the strongest similarity to the human RCCs among five types of human cancers, followed by human malignant mesothelioma, an iron overload-associated cancer. Therefore, an iron-dependent Fenton chemical reaction causes large-scale genomic alterations during carcinogenesis, which may result in distinct genomic profiles. Based on the characteristics of extensive genome alterations in human cancer, our results suggest that this chemical reaction may play a major role during human carcinogenesis.

Concepts: Gene, Cancer, Oncology, Copy number variation, Chromosome, Chemical reaction, Rat, Mesothelioma


Structural genetic changes, especially copy number variants (CNVs), represent a major source of genetic variation contributing to human disease. Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is the most common form of cyanotic congenital heart disease, but to date little is known about the role of CNVs in the etiology of TOF. Using high-resolution genome-wide microarrays and stringent calling methods, we investigated rare CNVs in a prospectively recruited cohort of 433 unrelated adults with TOF and/or pulmonary atresia at a single centre. We excluded those with recognized syndromes, including 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. We identified candidate genes for TOF based on converging evidence between rare CNVs that overlapped the same gene in unrelated individuals and from pathway analyses comparing rare CNVs in TOF cases to those in epidemiologic controls. Even after excluding the 53 (10.7%) subjects with 22q11.2 deletions, we found that adults with TOF had a greater burden of large rare genic CNVs compared to controls (8.82% vs. 4.33%, p = 0.0117). Six loci showed evidence for recurrence in TOF or related congenital heart disease, including typical 1q21.1 duplications in four (1.18%) of 340 Caucasian probands. The rare CNVs implicated novel candidate genes of interest for TOF, including PLXNA2, a gene involved in semaphorin signaling. Independent pathway analyses highlighted developmental processes as potential contributors to the pathogenesis of TOF. These results indicate that individually rare CNVs are collectively significant contributors to the genetic burden of TOF. Further, the data provide new evidence for dosage sensitive genes in PLXNA2-semaphorin signaling and related developmental processes in human cardiovascular development, consistent with previous animal models.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genetic disorder, Copy number variation, Human genome, Congenital heart disease, Tetralogy of Fallot


Deletion and duplication of the -3.7-Mb region in 17p11.2 result in two reciprocal syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome and Potocki-Lupski syndrome. Smith-Magenis syndrome is a well-known developmental disorder. Potocki-Lupski syndrome has recently been recognized as a microduplication syndrome that is a reciprocal disease of Smith-Magenis syndrome. In this paper, we report on the clinical and cytogenetic features of two Korean patients with Smith-Magenis syndrome and Potocki-Lupski syndrome. Patient 1 (Smith-Magenis syndrome) was a 2.9-yr-old boy who showed mild dysmorphic features, aggressive behavioral problems, and developmental delay. Patient 2 (Potocki-Lupski syndrome), a 17-yr-old boy, had only intellectual disabilities and language developmental delay. We used array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) and found a 2.6 Mb-sized deletion and a reciprocal 2.1 Mb-sized duplication involving the 17p11.2. These regions overlapped in a 2.1 Mb size containing 11 common genes, including RAI1 and SREBF.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Copy number variation, Genome, Syndromes, Down syndrome, Array comparative genomic hybridization, Comparative genomic hybridization


Background Copy number variation (CNV) is an important structural variation (SV) in human genome. Various studies have shown that CNVs are associated with complex diseases. Traditional CNV detection methods such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) suffer from low resolution. The next generation sequencing (NGS) technique promises a higher resolution detection of CNVs and several methods were recently proposed for realizing such a promise. However, the performances of these methods are not robust under some conditions, e.g., some of them may fail to detect CNVs of short sizes. There has been a strong demand for reliable detection of CNVs from high resolution NGS data.Results A novel and robust method to detect CNV from short sequencing reads is proposed in this study. The detection of CNV is modeled as a change-point detection from the read depth (RD) signal derived from the NGS, which is fitted with a total variation (TV) penalized least squares model. The performance (e.g., sensitivity and specificity) of the proposed approach are evaluated by comparison with several recently published methods on both simulated and real data from the 1000 Genomes Project.Conclusions The experimental results showed that both the true positive rate and false positive rate of the proposed detection method do not change significantly for CNVs with different copy numbers and lengthes, when compared with several existing methods. Therefore, our proposed approach results in a more reliable detection of CNVs than the existing methods.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Copy number variation, Human genome, Genome, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Array comparative genomic hybridization


Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) led to the discovery of genetic abnormalities among patients with complex phenotype and normal karyotype. Also several apparently normal individuals have been found to be carriers of cryptic imbalances, hence the importance to perform parental investigations after the identification of a deletion/duplication in a proband. Here, we report the molecular cytogenetic characterization of two individuals in which the microdeletions/duplications present in their parents could have predisposed and facilitated the formation of pathogenic different copy number variations (CNVs). In family 1, a 4-year-old girl had a pathogenic 10.5 Mb duplication at 15q21.2q22.2, while her mother showed a 2.262 Mb deletion at 15q13.2q13.3; in family 2, a 9-year-old boy had a 1.417 Mb deletion at 22q11.21 and a second paternal deletion of 247 Kb at 22q11.23 on the same chromosome 22. Chromosome 22 at band q11.2 and chromosome 15 at band q11q13 are considered unstable regions. We could hypothesize that 15q13.2q13.3 and 22q11.21 deletions in the two respective parents might have increased the risk of rearrangements in their children. This study highlights the difficulty to make genetic counseling and predict the phenotypic consequences in these situations.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Copy number variation, Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Chromosomes, Metaphase


Copy number alteration (CNA) profiling of human tumors has revealed recurrent patterns of DNA amplifications and deletions across diverse cancer types. These patterns are suggestive of conserved selection pressures during tumor evolution but cannot be fully explained by known oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Using a pan-cancer analysis of CNA data from patient tumors and experimental systems, here we show that principal component analysis-defined CNA signatures are predictive of glycolytic phenotypes, including (18)F-fluorodeoxy-glucose (FDG) avidity of patient tumors, and increased proliferation. The primary CNA signature is enriched for p53 mutations and is associated with glycolysis through coordinate amplification of glycolytic genes and other cancer-linked metabolic enzymes. A pan-cancer and cross-species comparison of CNAs highlighted 26 consistently altered DNA regions, containing 11 enzymes in the glycolysis pathway in addition to known cancer-driving genes. Furthermore, exogenous expression of hexokinase and enolase enzymes in an experimental immortalization system altered the subsequent copy number status of the corresponding endogenous loci, supporting the hypothesis that these metabolic genes act as drivers within the conserved CNA amplification regions. Taken together, these results demonstrate that metabolic stress acts as a selective pressure underlying the recurrent CNAs observed in human tumors, and further cast genomic instability as an enabling event in tumorigenesis and metabolic evolution.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Cancer, Oncology, Evolution, Copy number variation, DNA repair, Glycolysis