Current Genomics (v.13, #6)

Editorial (Hot Topic: Genetics and Risk Assessment) by H.-U.G. Weier, B. O'Brien (417-417).

The use of particle ion beams in cancer radiotherapy has a long history. Today, beams of protons or heavy ions, predominantly carbon ions, can be accelerated to precisely calculated energies which can be accurately targeted to tumors. This particle therapy works by damaging the DNA of tissue cells, ultimately causing their death. Among the different types of DNA lesions, the formation of DNA double strand breaks is considered to be the most relevant of deleterious damages of ionizing radiation in cells. It is well-known that the extremely large localized energy deposition can lead to complex types of DNA double strand breaks. These effects can lead to cell death, mutations, genomic instability, or carcinogenesis. Complex double strand breaks can increase the probability of mis-rejoining by NHEJ. As a consequence differences in the repair kinetics following high and low LET irradiation qualities are attributed mainly to quantitative differences in their contributions of the fast and slow repair component. In general, there is a higher contribution of the slow component of DNA double strand repair after exposure to high LET radiation, which is thought to reflect the increased amount of complex DNA double strand breaks. These can be accurately measured by the and#947;-H2AX assay, because the number of phosphorylated H2AX foci correlates well with the number of double strand breaks induced by low or / and high LET radiation.

Clinical, Molecular- and Cytogenetic Analysis of a Case of Severe Radio- Sensitivity by K.M. Greulich-Bode, F. Zimmermann, W.-U. Muller, B. Pakisch, M. Molls, F. Wurschmidt (426-432).
In radiotherapy the normal tissue reaction is often a limiting factor for radiation treatment. Still there is no screening method, which predicts normal tissue reaction on radiotherapy, especially in comparison to tumor tissue, and therefore allows tailoring of the radiation dose to each patient. Here, we present a case of severe radiation-related side effects. We applied classical cytogenetic techniques (Giemsa-banding and staining of centromeric regions), the comet assay as well as multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization on peripheral blood lymphocytes of this patient in order to determine the radio-sensitivity on the DNA level and to correlate these findings with the clinical outcome. Our investigations revealed abnormalities on chromosome 9, deficiencies in the DNA-repair capacity after radiation exposure and a high number of radiation induced chromosomal aberrations. A detected high amount of residual damage two or three hours after radiation exposure and repair as well as the high number of chromosomal aberrations (ChAs) suggests a correlation between repair capacity and radiation induced ChAs. We concluded that the detected abnormalities might serve as a genetic basis for the radio-sensitive phenotype of this patient. Taken together this report strengthens the idea that intensive DNA genomic analysis of individual patients can serve as the basis for more favourable treatment of cancer patients.

Secondary Radiation-Induced Bone Tumours Demonstrate a High Degree of Genomic Instability Predictive of a Poor Prognosis by Christine Rumenapp, Jan Smida, Iria Gonzalez-Vasconcellos, Daniel Baumhoer, Bernard Malfoy, Nabila-Sandra Hadj-Hamou, Bahar Sanli-Bonazzi, Michaela Nathrath, Michael J. Atkinson, Michael Rosemann (433-437).
Secondary bone tumours arising in the field of a preceding radiotherapy are a serious late effect, in particular considering the increasing survival times in patients treated for paediatric malignancies. In general, therapy associated tumours are known to show a more aggressive behaviour and a limited response to chemotherapy compared with their primary counterparts. It is not clear however whether this less favourable outcome is caused by inherent genetic factors of the tumour cells or by a general systemic condition of the patient. To elucidate this we analysed a series of bone sarcomas with a history of prior irradiation for the presence of genomic alterations and compared them with the alterations identified earlier in primary osteosarcomas. We analysed seven radiation induced bone sarcomas for genome-wide losses of heterozygosity (LOH) using Affymetrix 10K2 high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Additionally, copy number changes were analysed at two distinct loci on 10q that were recently found to be of major prognostic significance in primary osteosarcomas. All the investigated tumours showed a LOH at 10q21.1 with 86and#x25; of cases (6/7) revealing a total genome-wide LOH score above 2400 and more than 24and#x25; of the genome being affected. Our results indicate similar genetic alterations in radiation induced sarcomas of bone and primary osteosarcomas with a poor prognosis. We speculate that the high degree of genomic instability found in these tumours causes the poor prognosis irrespective of the initiating event.

Bioinformatic Tools Identify Chromosome-Specific DNA Probes and Facilitate Risk Assessment by Detecting Aneusomies in Extra-embryonic Tissues by Hui Zeng, Jingly F. Weier, Mei Wang, Haig J. Kassabian, Aris A. Polyzos, Adolf Baumgartner, Benjamin O'Brien, Heinz-Ulli G. Weier (438-445).
Despite their non-diseased nature, healthy human tissues may show a surprisingly large fraction of aneusomic or aneuploid cells. We have shown previously that hybridization of three to six non-isotopically labeled, chromosomespecific DNA probes reveals different proportions of aneuploid cells in individual compartments of the human placenta and the uterine wall. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, we found that human invasive cytotrophoblasts isolated from anchoring villi or the uterine wall had gained individual chromosomes. Chromosome losses in placental or uterine tissues, on the other hand, were detected infrequently. A more thorough numerical analysis of all possible aneusomies occurring in these tissues and the investigation of their spatial as well as temporal distribution would further our understanding of the underlying biology, but it is hampered by the high cost of and limited access to DNA probes. Furthermore, multiplexing assays are difficult to set up with commercially available probes due to limited choices of probe labels. Many laboratories therefore attempt to develop their own DNA probe sets, often duplicating cloning and screening efforts underway elsewhere. In this review, we discuss the conventional approaches to the preparation of chromosome-specific DNA probes followed by a description of our approach using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and molecular biology tools for probe identification and manufacture. Novel probes that target gonosomes as well as two autosomes are presented as examples of rapid and inexpensive preparation of highly specific DNA probes for applications in placenta research and perinatal diagnostics.

Current Genomics in Cardiovascular Medicine by Vinit Sawhney, Scott Brouilette, Dominic Abrams, Richard Schilling, Benjamin O'Brien (446-462).
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a heterogeneous, complex trait that has a major impact on human morbidity and mortality. Common genetic variation may predispose to common forms of CVD in the community, and rare genetic conditions provide unique pathogenetic insights into these diseases. With the advent of the Human Genome Project and the genomic era, new tools and methodologies have revolutionised the field of genetic research in cardiovascular medicine. In this review, we describe the rationale for the current emphasis on large-scale genomic studies, elaborate on genome wide association studies and summarise the impact of genomics on clinical cardiovascular medicine and how this may eventually lead to new therapeutics and personalised medicine.

At least 50and#x25; of human embryos are abnormal, and that increases to 80and#x25; in women 40 years or older. These abnormalities result in low implantation rates in embryos transferred during in vitro fertilization procedures, from 30and#x25; in women andlt; 35 years to 6and#x25; in women 40 years or older. Thus selecting normal embryos for transfer should improve pregnancy results. The genetic analysis of embryos is called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and for chromosome analysis it was first performed using FISH with up to 12 probes analyzed simultaneously on single cells. However, suboptimal utilization of the technique and the complexity of fixing single cells produced conflicting results. PGD has been invigorated by the introduction of microarray testing which allows for the analysis of all 24 chromosome types in one test, without the need of cell fixation, and with staggering redundancy, making the test much more robust and reliable. Recent data published and presented at scientific meetings has been suggestive of increased implantation rates and pregnancy rates following microarray testing, improvements in outcome that have been predicted for quite some time. By using markers that cover most of the genome, not only aneuploidy can be detected in single cells but also translocations. Our validation results indicate that array CGH has a 6Mb resolution in single cells, and thus the majority of translocations can be analyzed since this is also the limit of karyotyping. Even for translocations with smaller exchanged fragments, provided that three out of the four fragments are above 6Mb, the translocation can be detected.

On the Power of Additional and Complex Chromosomal Aberrations in CML by Karin M. Greulich-Bode, Barbara Heinze (471-476).
Unregulated proliferation of mainly myeloid bone marrow cells and genetic changes in the hematopoietic stem cell system are important features in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). In clinical diagnosis of CML, classical banding techniques, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probing for the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) or polymerase chain reaction amplifying the fusion products of the BCR-ABL fusion are state of the art techniques. Nevertheless, the genome of CML patients harbors many more cytogenetic changes. These might be hidden in subpopulations due to clonal events or involved in extremely complex aberrations. To identify these additional changes, several cytogenetic and molecular genetic techniques could be applied. Nevertheless, it has been proposed that identifying these aberrations is time consuming and costly and since they cannot be converted into a benefit for the patients, the necessity to perform these investigations has been questioned. In the times where highly specialized medicine is advancing into several areas of cancer, this attitude needs to be reassessed. Therefore, we looked at the usefulness of a combination of different techniques to unravel the genetic changes in CML patients and to identify new chromosomal aberrations, which potentially can be correlated to different stages of the disease and the strength of therapy resistance. We are convinced that the combination of these techniques could be extremely useful in unraveling even the most complex karyotypes and in dissecting different clones contributing to the disease. We propose that by doing so, this would improve CML diagnostic and prognostic findings, especially with regard to CML resistance mechanisms and new therapeutic strategies.

Single Cell Genomics of the Brain: Focus on Neuronal Diversity and Neuropsychiatric Diseases by Ivan Y Iourov, Svetlana G Vorsanova, Yuri B Yurov (477-488).
Single cell genomics has made increasingly significant contributions to our understanding of the role that somatic genome variations play in human neuronal diversity and brain diseases. Studying intercellular genome and epigenome variations has provided new clues to the delineation of molecular mechanisms that regulate development, function and plasticity of the human central nervous system (CNS). It has been shown that changes of genomic content and epigenetic profiling at single cell level are involved in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases (schizophrenia, mental retardation (intellectual/leaning disability), autism, Alzheimer's disease etc.). Additionally, several brain diseases were found to be associated with genome and chromosome instability (copy number variations, aneuploidy) variably affecting cell populations of the human CNS. The present review focuses on the latest advances of single cell genomics, which have led to a better understanding of molecular mechanisms of neuronal diversity and neuropsychiatric diseases, in the light of dynamically developing fields of systems biology and and#x201C;omicsand#x201D;.

Neuropsychiatric disorders (including dementia) have high personal, family, and social costs. Although many neuropsychiatric disorders share common patterns of symptoms and treatments, there are no validated biomarkers that define the underlying molecular mechanisms in the central nervous system (CNS). We hypothesize that there are early and common molecular changes in the CNS that will serve as sensitive indicators of CNS molecular stress and that will be predictive of neuropathological changes resulted in increasing the risk for neuropsychiatric diseases. Using the rodent model, we showed that systemic exposure to three diverse CNS stressors with different mechanisms of action (ketamine, low-dose and high-dose ionizing radiation, interferon-