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  • 1
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; TUMORS ; ABERRATIONS ; METHYLATION ; EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS ; MULTIFORME ; HIGH-GRADE GLIOMAS ; TELOMERES ; INTEGRATED GENOMIC ANALYSIS ; ATRX
    Abstract: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a lethal brain tumour in adults and children. However, DNA copy number and gene expression signatures indicate differences between adult and paediatric cases(1-4). To explore the genetic events underlying this distinction, we sequenced the exomes of 48 paediatric GBM samples. Somatic mutations in the H3.3-ATRX-DAXX chromatin remodelling pathway were identified in 44% of tumours (21/48). Recurrent mutations in H3F3A, which encodes the replication-independent histone 3 variant H3.3, were observed in 31% of tumours, and led to amino acid substitutions at two critical positions within the histone tail (K27M, G34R/G34V) involved in key regulatory post-translational modifications. Mutations in ATRX (alpha-thalassaemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked)(5) and DAXX (death-domain associated protein), encoding two subunits of a chromatin remodelling complex required for H3.3 incorporation at pericentric heterochromatin and telomeres(6,7), were identified in 31% of samples overall, and in 100% of tumours harbouring a G34R or G34V H3.3 mutation. Somatic TP53 mutations were identified in 54% of all cases, and in 86% of samples with H3F3A and/or ATRX mutations. Screening of a large cohort of gliomas of various grades and histologies (n = 784) showed H3F3A mutations to be specific to GBM and highly prevalent in children and young adults. Furthermore, the presence of H3F3A/ATRX-DAXX/TP53 mutations was strongly associated with alternative lengthening of telomeres and specific gene expression profiles. This is, to our knowledge, the first report to highlight recurrent mutations in a regulatory histone in humans, and our data suggest that defects of the chromatin architecture underlie paediatric and young adult GBM pathogenesis
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22286061
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  • 2
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; GENE ; DIFFERENTIATION ; IDENTIFICATION ; EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS ; HYPERMETHYLATION ; SUPPRESSOR ; methylome ; CANCER GENOME ; CPG ISLAND SHORES
    Abstract: Epigenetic alterations, that is, disruption of DNA methylation and chromatin architecture, are now acknowledged as a universal feature of tumorigenesis. Medulloblastoma, a clinically challenging, malignant childhood brain tumour, is no exception. Despite much progress from recent genomics studies, with recurrent changes identified in each of the four distinct tumour subgroups (WNT-pathway-activated, SHH-pathway-activated, and the less-well-characterized Group 3 and Group 4), many cases still lack an obvious genetic driver. Here we present whole-genome bisulphite-sequencing data from thirty-four human and five murine tumours plus eight human and three murine normal controls, augmented with matched whole-genome, RNA and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing data. This comprehensive data set allowed us to decipher several features underlying the interplay between the genome, epigenome and transcriptome, and its effects on medulloblastoma pathophysiology. Most notable were highly prevalent regions of hypomethylation correlating with increased gene expression, extending tens of kilobases downstream of transcription start sites. Focal regions of low methylation linked to transcription-factor-binding sites shed light on differential transcriptional networks between subgroups, whereas increased methylation due to re-normalization of repressed chromatin in DNA methylation valleys was positively correlated with gene expression. Large, partially methylated domains affecting up to one-third of the genome showed increased mutation rates and gene silencing in a subgroup-specific fashion. Epigenetic alterations also affected novel medulloblastoma candidate genes (for example, LIN28B), resulting in alternative promoter usage and/or differential messenger RNA/microRNA expression. Analysis of mouse medulloblastoma and precursor-cell methylation demonstrated a somatic origin for many alterations. Our data provide insights into the epigenetic regulation of transcription and genome organization in medulloblastoma pathogenesis, which are probably also of importance in a wider developmental and disease context.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24847876
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