Genome -wide and locus -specific instability

Salina Victoria Spring, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The discovery of expanded simple repeated sequences causing or associated with human disease has lead to a new area of research involved in the elucidation of how the expanded repeat causes disease and how the repeat becomes unstable. To study the genetic basis of the (CTG)n repeat instability in the DMPK gene in myotonic dystrophy (DM1) patients, somatic cell hybrids were constructed between the lymphocytes of DM1 patients and a variety of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell DNA repair gene deficient mutants. By using small pool PCR (SP-PCR), the instability of the (CTG)n can be quantitated for both the frequency and sizes of length change mutations. Additional SP-PCR analysis on 2/11 subclones generated from this original hybrid showed a marked increase in large repeat deletions, ∼50%. A bimodal distribution of repeats was seen around the progenitor allele and at a large deleted product (within the normal range) with no intermediate products present. To determine if the repair capacity of the CHO cell led to a mutator phenotype in the hamster and hybrid clones, SP-PCR was also done on 3 hamster microsatellites in a variety of hamster cell backgrounds. No variant alleles were seen in over 2500 genome equivalents screened. Human-hamster hybrids have long been shown to be chromosomally unstable, yet information about the stability of repeated sequences was not known. To test if repeat instability was associated with either intact or non-intact human chromosomes, more than 300 microsatellite repeats on 13 human chromosomes (intact and non-intact) were analyzed in eight hybrid cells. No variants were seen between the hybrid and patient alleles in the hybrids. To identify whether DM1 patients have a previously undetected level of genome wide instability or if the instability is truly locus specific, SP-PCR was done on 6 human microsatellites within the patient used to make the hybrid cells. No variants were seen in over 1000 genomes screened. These studies show that the somatic cell hybrid approach is a genetically stable system that allows for the determination of factors that could lead to changes in microsatellite instability. It also shows that there is something inherent about the DM1 expanded (CTG)n repeat that it is solely targeted by, as of yet, and unknown mechanism that causes the repeat to be unstable. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

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Recommended Citation

Spring, Salina Victoria, "Genome -wide and locus -specific instability" (2000). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9976290.