Bertram L.,Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports | Year: 2011
After a decade of intensive investigation but only few replicable results, Alzheimer's disease (AD) genetics research is slowly picking up pace. This is mostly owing to the completion of several genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which have suggested the existence of over three dozen potential new AD susceptibility genes. Although only a handful of these could be confirmed in subsequent independent replication efforts to date, this success rate is still much higher than in the pre-GWAS era. This review provides a brief summary of the principal methodologic advances in genetics research of the past decade, followed by a description of the most compelling findings that these advances have unearthed in AD. The paper closes with a discussion of the persistent methodologic difficulties and challenges and an outlook on what we can expect to gain from the next 10 years of AD genetics research. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.
Richard H.,Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
Nucleic acids research | Year: 2010
Alternative splicing, polyadenylation of pre-messenger RNA molecules and differential promoter usage can produce a variety of transcript isoforms whose respective expression levels are regulated in time and space, thus contributing specific biological functions. However, the repertoire of mammalian alternative transcripts and their regulation are still poorly understood. Second-generation sequencing is now opening unprecedented routes to address the analysis of entire transcriptomes. Here, we developed methods that allow the prediction and quantification of alternative isoforms derived solely from exon expression levels in RNA-Seq data. These are based on an explicit statistical model and enable the prediction of alternative isoforms within or between conditions using any known gene annotation, as well as the relative quantification of known transcript structures. Applying these methods to a human RNA-Seq dataset, we validated a significant fraction of the predictions by RT-PCR. Data further showed that these predictions correlated well with information originating from junction reads. A direct comparison with exon arrays indicated improved performances of RNA-Seq over microarrays in the prediction of skipped exons. Altogether, the set of methods presented here comprehensively addresses multiple aspects of alternative isoform analysis. The software is available as an open-source R-package called Solas at http://cmb.molgen.mpg.de/2ndGenerationSequencing/Solas/.
Ropers H.H.,Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics | Year: 2010
Intellectual disability (ID) is the leading socio-economic problem of health care, but compared to autism and schizophrenia, it has received very little public attention. Important risk factors for ID are malnutrition, cultural deprivation, poor health care, and parental consanguinity. In the Western world, fetal alcohol exposure is the most common preventable cause. Most severe forms of ID have genetic causes. Cytogenetically detectable and submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements account for approximately 25% of all cases. X-linked gene defects are responsible in 10-12% of males with ID; to date, 91 of these defects have been identified. In contrast, autosomal gene defects have been largely disregarded, but due to coordinated efforts and the advent of next-generation DNA sequencing, this is about to change. As shown for Fra(X) syndrome, this renewed focus on autosomal gene defects will pave the way for molecular diagnosis and prevention, shed more light on the pathogenesis of ID, and reveal new opportunities for therapy. © 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
Borno S.T.,Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
Cancer discovery | Year: 2012
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men worldwide. Alterations in the DNA methylation pattern can be one of the leading causes for prostate cancer formation. This study is the first high-throughput sequencing study investigating genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in a large cohort of 51 tumor and 53 benign prostate samples using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing. Comparative analyses identified more than 147,000 cancer-associated epigenetic alterations. In addition, global methylation patterns show significant differences based on the TMPRSS2-ERG rearrangement status. We propose the hypermethylation of miR-26a as an alternative pathway of ERG rearrangement-independent EZH2 activation. The observed increase in differential methylation events in fusion-negative tumors can explain the tumorigenic process in the absence of genomic rearrangements. In contrast to TMPRSS2-ERG -rearranged tumors, the pathomechanism for gene fusion-negative tumors is completely unclear. Using a sequencing-based approach, our work uncovers significant global epigenetic alterations in TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion-negative tumors and provides a mechanistic explanation for the tumor formation process. ©2012 AACR.
Orom U.A.,Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics |
Shiekhattar R.,Wistar Institute
Cell | Year: 2013
Enhancer-associated long noncoding RNAs act over long distances and across chromosomes to activate transcription at distal promoters. Here, we address the latest advances made toward understanding the role of long noncoding RNA expression and the involvement of these RNAs in enhancer function through association with protein factors and modulation of chromatin structure. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.