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Leukemia Research, 31, 39- 47

Analysis of complex chromosomal rearrangements in adult patients with MDS and AML by multicolor FISH.

L. Babicka, S. Ransdorfova, J. Brezinova, Z. Zemanova, L. Sindelarova, M. Siskova, J. Maaloufova, J. Cermak, K. Michalova

We analyzed complex chromosomal aberrations in 37 adult patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) using classical cytogenetic method, FISH with locus-specific probes, multicolor FISH (mFISH) and multicolor banding (mBAND). Unbalanced structural aberrations, leading to a gain or loss of chromosomal material, were frequently observed in bone marrow cells. In 30 patients (81.1%) loss or rearrangement of chromosome 5, 7 and/or 11 was found. The most frequent numerical change was trisomy 8 as expected (detected in six patients-16.2%) and the most frequent breakpoints 5q13, 5q33, 7q31, 10p12, 11q23, 12p13, 17p11 and 21q22 were determined.

Int J Med Sci, 3, 124- 129

Low temperature tolerance of human embryonic stem cells.

B.C. Heng, K.J. Vinoth, H. Liu, M.P. Hande, T. Cao

This study investigated the effects of exposing human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to 4oC and 25oC for extended durations of 24h and 48h respectively. Cell survivability after low temperature exposure was assessed through the MTT assay. The results showed that hESC survivability after exposure to 25oC and 4oC for 24h was 77.3 ± 4.8 % and 64.4 ± 4.4 % respectively (significantly different, P < 0.05). The corresponding survival rates after 48h exposure to 25oC and 4oC was 71.0 ± 0.5 % and 69.0 ± 2.3 % respectively (not significantly different, P > 0.05). Spontaneous differentiation of hESC after low temperature exposure was assessed by morphological observations under bright-field and phase-contrast microscopy, and by immunocytochemical staining for the pluripotency markers SSEA-3 and TRA-1-81. hESC colonies were assigned into 3 grades according to their degree of spontaneous differentiation: (1) Grade A which was completely or mostly undifferentiated, (2) Grade B which was partially differentiated, and (3) Grade C which was mostly differentiated. In all low temperature exposed groups, about 95% of colonies remain undifferentiated (Grade A), which was not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the unexposed control group maintained at 37oC. Additionally, normal karyotype was maintained in all low temperature-exposed groups, as assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of metaphase spreads with telomere and centromere-specific PNA probes. Further analysis with m-FISH showed that chromosomal translocations were absent in all experimental groups. Hence, hESC possess relatively high-tolerance to extended durations of low temperature exposure, which could have useful implications for the salvage of hESC culture during infrequent occurrences of incubator break-down and power failure.

Chromosoma, 115, 459- 467

The breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycle as a mechanism for generating genetic heterogeneity in osteosarcoma.

S. Selvarajah, M. Yoshimoto, P.C. Park, G. Maire, J. Paderova, J. Bayani, G. Lim, K. Al-Romaih, J.A. Squire, M. Zielenska

Osteosarcoma (OS) is characterized by chromosomal instability and high copy number gene amplification. The breakage–fusion–bridge (BFB) cycle is a well-established mechanism of genome instability in tumors and in vitro models used to study the origins of complex chromosomal rearrangements and cancer genome amplification. To determine whether the BFB cycle could be increasing the de novo rate of formation of cytogenetic aberrations in OS, the frequency of anaphase bridge configurations and dicentric chromosomes in four OS cell lines was quantified. An increased level of anaphase bridges and dicentrics was observed in all the OS cell lines. There was also a strong association between the frequencies of anaphase bridges, dicentrics, centrosomal anomalies, and multipolar mitotic figures in all the OS cell lines, indicating a possible link in the mechanisms that led to the structural and numerical instabilities observed in OS. In summary, this study has provided strong support for the role of the BFB cycle in generating the extensive structural chromosome aberrations, as well as cell-to-cell cytogenetic variation observed in OS, thus conferring the genetic diversity for OS tumor progression.

Int. J. Molecular Medicine, 17, 209- 213

Molecular cytogenetic characterization of the mouse cell line WMP2 by spectral karyotyping and multicolor banding applying murine probes.

C. Karst, V. Trifonov, S.A. Romanenko, U. Claussen, K. Mrasek, S. Michel, P. Avner, T. Liehr

The Moloney murine leukemia virus-transformed suspension cell line WMP2 is derived from wild mice (Mus musculus) of the WMP/WMP strain. These mice carry nine pairs of metacentric Robertsonian translocation chromosomes. As the chromosomes of the wild-type mouse are all acrocentric, metaphase spreads of the WMP2 cells seam to be highly suited for physical gene mapping. Here we studied the WMP2 line using spectral karyotyping (SKY) combined with new established mouse specific multicolor banding (mcb) probes for the chromosomes X, 3, 4, 6 and 18. SKY revealed that the WMP2 cell line developed further four derivative chromosomes. After application of mcb five previously unrecognizable intrachromosomal rearrangements with 9 breakpoints were detected for the studied chromosomes.

Radiat Environ Biophys, 44(3), 219--224
December, 2005

Space radiation does not induce a significant increase of intrachromosomalexchanges in astronauts' lymphocytes.

M. Horstmann, M. Durante, C. Johannes, R. Pieper, G. Obe

Chromosome aberration analysis in astronauts has been used to provide direct, biologically motivated estimates of equivalent doses and risk associated to cosmic radiation exposure during space flight. However, the past studies concentrated on measurements of dicentrics and translocations, while chromosome intrachanges (inversions) have never been measured in astronauts' samples. Recent data reported in the literature suggest that densely ionizing radiation can induce a large fraction of intrachanges, thus leading to the suspicion that interchanges grossly underestimate the cosmic radiation-induced cytogenetic damage in astronauts. We have analyzed peripheral blood lymphocytes from 11 astronauts involved in short- or long-term space flights in low-Earth orbit using high-resolution multicolor banding to assess the frequency of intrachromosomal exchanges in both pre- and post-flight samples. We did not detect any inversions in chromosome 5 from a total of 2800 cells in astronauts' blood. In addition, no complex type exchanges were found in a total of 3590 astronauts' lymphocytes analyzed by multifluor fluorescence in situ hybridisation. We conclude that, within the statistical power of this study, the analysis of interchanges for biological dosimetry in astronauts does not significantly underestimate the space radiation-induced cytogenetic damage, and complex-type exchanges or intrachanges have limited practical use for biodosimetry at very low doses.

Cytogenetic and Genomic Research, 108, 217- 222

New insights into the evolution of chromosome 1.

A. Weise, H. Starke, K. Mrasek, U. Claussen, T. Liehr

A complex low-repetitive human DNA probe (BAC RP11-35B4) together with two microdissection-derived region-specific probes of the multicolor banding (MCB) probe-set for chromosome 1 were used to re-analyze the evolution of human chromosome 1 in comparison to four ape species. BAC RP11-35B4 derives from 1q21 and contains 143 kb of non-repetitive DNA; however, it produces three specific FISH signals in 1q21, 1p12 and 1p36.1 of Homo sapiens (HSA). Human chromosome 1 was studied in comparison to its homologues in Hylobates lar (HLA), Pongo pygmaeus (PPY), Gorilla gorilla (GGO) and Pan troglodytes (PTR). A duplication of sequences homologous to human 1p36.1 could be detected in PPY plus an additional signal on PPY 16q. The region homologous to HSA 1p36.1 is also duplicated in HLA, and split onto chromosomes 7q and 9p; the region homologous to HSA 1q21/1p12 is present as one region on 5q. Additionally, the breakpoint of a small pericentric inversion in the evolution of human chromosome 1 compared to other great ape species could be refined. In summary, the results obtained here are in concordance with previous reports; however, there is evidence for a deletion of regions homologous to human 1p34.2-->p34.1 during evolution in the Pongidae branch after separation of PPY.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 44, 1- 9

Complex chromosome aberrations persist in individuals many years after occupational exposure to densely ionizing radiation: an mFISH study

M Prakash Hande, TV Azizova, LF Burak, VF Khokhryakov, CR Geard, DJ Brenner

Long-lived, sensitive, and specific biomarkers of particular mutagenic agents are much sought after and potentially have broad applications in the fields of cancer biology, epidemiology, and prevention. Many clastogens induce a spectrum of chromosome aberrations, and some of them can be exploited as biomarkers of exposure. Densely ionizing radiation, for example, alpha particle radiation (from radon or plutonium) and neutron radiation, preferentially induces complex chromosome aberrations, which can be detected by the 24-color multifluor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH) technique. We report the detection and quantification of stable complex chromosome aberrations in lymphocytes of healthy former nuclear-weapons workers, who were exposed many years ago to plutonium, gamma rays, or both, at the Mayak weapons complex in Russia. We analyzed peripheral-blood lymphocytes from these individuals for the presence of persistent complex chromosome aberrations. A significantly elevated frequency of complex chromosome translocations was detected in the highly exposed plutonium workers but not in the group exposed only to high doses of gamma radiation. No such differences were found for simple chromosomal aberrations. The results suggest that stable complex chromosomal translocations represent a long-lived, quantitative, low-background biomarker of densely ionizing radiation for human populations exposed many years ago.

Leukemia Research, 29, 273- 281

Prognostic value of structural chromosomal rearrangements and small cell clones with high hyperdiploidy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Z. Zemanova, K. Michalova, L. Sindelarova, P. Smisek, J. Brezinova, S. Ransdorfova, V. Vavra, A. Dohnalova, J. Stary

In this study, 107 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were analysed for the presence of hyperdiploidy by cytogenetics and interphase fluorescence in situ hybridisation (I-FISH). Structural aberrations in hyperdiploid cells were investigated by multiple colour FISH (mFISH). Clones with high hyperdiploidy (>50 chromosomes) (HeH) were found in 46 patients (43%). In nine of these (20%), the abnormal clone was present in <20% of the total cell population. There was no significant difference in EFS between those patients with HeH in 2.5-20% or >20% of cells. Structural rearrangements in the HeH clone were found in 10 patients (22%). In this study, HeH karyotypes containing structural aberrations were an indication of a poor prognosis in childhood ALL.

Cellular Oncology, 27, 293- 318

The chromosomal basis of cancer.

P. Duesberg, R. Li, A. Fabarius, R. Hehlmann

Conventional genetic theories have failed to explain why cancer (1) is not heritable and thus extremely rare in newborns, (2) is caused by non-mutagenic carcinogens, (3) develops only years to decades after initiation by carcinogens, (4) follows pre-neoplastic aneuploidy, (5) is aneuploid, (6) is chromosomally and phenotypically "unstable", (7) carries specific aneusomies, (8) generates much more complex phenotypes than conventional mutation such as multidrug resistance, (9) generates nonselective phenotypes such as metastasis (no benefit at native site) and "immortality" (not necessary for tumorigenesis), and (10) does not contain carcinogenic mutations. We propose, instead, that cancer is a chromosomal disease. Accordingly carcinogenesis is initiated by random aneuploidies, which are induced by carcinogens or spontaneously. Since aneuploidy unbalances 1000s of genes, it corrupts teams of proteins that segregate, synthesize and repair chromosomes. Aneuploidy is therefore a steady source of chromosomal variations from which, in classical Darwinian terms, selection encourages the evolution and malignant progression of cancer cells. The rates of specific chromosomal variations can exceed conventional mutations by 4-11 orders of magnitude, depending on the degrees of aneuploidy. Based on their chromosomal constitution cancer cells are new cell "species" with specific aneusomies, but unstable karyotypes. The cancer-specific aneusomies generate complex, malignant phenotypes through the abnormal dosages of 1000s of genes, just as trisomy 21 generates Down syndrome. In sum, cancer is caused by chromosomal disorganization, which increases karyotypic entropy. Thus, cancer is a chromosomal rather than a genetic disease. The chromosomal theory explains (1) non-heritable cancer because aneuploidy is not heritable, (2) non-mutagenic carcinogens as aneuploidogens, (3) long neoplastic latencies by the low probability of evolving new species, (4) nonselective phenotypes via genes hitchhiking with selective chromosomes, and (5) immortality because, through their cellular heterogeneity, cancers survive negative mutations and cytotoxic drugs via resistant subspecies.

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 163, 44- 56

Chromosomal alterations cause the high rates and wide ranges of drug resistance in cancer cells.

R. Li, R. Hehlman, R. Sachs, P. Duesberg

Conventional mutation-selection theories have failed to explain (i) how cancer cells become spontaneously resistant against cytotoxic drugs at rates of up to 10(-3) per cell generation, orders higher than gene mutation, even in cancer cells; (ii) why resistance far exceeds a challenging drug-a state termed multidrug resistance; (iii) why resistance is associated with chromosomal alterations and proportional to their numbers; and (iv) why resistance is totally dependent on aneuploidy. We propose here that cancer-specific aneuploidy generates drug resistance via chromosomal alterations. According to this mechanism, aneuploidy varies the numbers and structures of chromosomes automatically, because it corrupts the many teams of proteins that segregate, synthesize, and repair chromosomes. Aneuploidy is thus a steady source of chromosomal variation from which, in classical Darwinian terms, resistance-specific aneusomies are selected in the presence of chemotherapeutic drugs. Some of the thousands of unselected genes that hitchhike with resistance-specific aneusomies can thus generate multidrug resistance. To test this hypothesis, we determined the rates of chromosomal alterations in clonal cultures of human breast and colon cancer lines by dividing the fraction of nonclonal karyotypes by the number of generations of the clone. These rates were about 10(-2) per cell generation, orders higher than mutation. Chromosome numbers and structures were determined in metaphases hybridized with color-coded chromosome-specific DNA probes. Further, we tested puromycin-resistant subclones of these lines for resistance-specific aneusomies. Resistant subclones differed from parental lines in four to seven specific aneusomies, of which different subclones shared some. The degree of resistance was roughly proportional to the number of these aneusomies. Thus, aneuploidy is the primary cause of the high rates and wide ranges of drug resistance in cancer cells.

Oncogene, 23(45), 7507--7516
September, 2004

Tumor necrosis factor alpha induces senescence and chromosomal instabilityin human leukemic cells.

Odile Beyne-Rauzy, Christian Recher, Nicole Dastugue, C{\'e}cile Demur, G{\'e}raldine Pottier, Guy Laurent, Laure Sabatier, V{\'e}ronique Mansat-De Mas

Previous studies have documented that Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) is a potent negative regulator of normal hematopoiesis. However, the mechanism by which TNFalpha acts at the cellular level is not totally understood. Although apoptotic cell killing appears to be the most common cellular effect of TNFalpha, other studies suggest that this cytokine may elicit other cellular responses such as prolonged growth inhibition. In this context, we have investigated whether TNFalpha may induce senescence in hematopoietic cells, which display intrinsic defect in the apoptotic machinery. The present study described that, in the leukemic KG1 cells, TNFalpha induced no apoptosis but a senescence state characterized by prolonged growth arrest, increased beta-galactosidase activity, p21WAF-1 induction, decreased telomerase activity, telomeric disturbances (shortening, losses, fusions), and additional chromosomal aberrations. Telomerase inhibition correlated with reduced levels of hTERT transcripts. GM-CSF prevented TNFalpha effects and allowed leukemic cells to recover growth capacity. Finally, our study shows for the first time that, at least in some hematopoietic cells, TNFalpha may induce senescence with important functional consequences, including sustained growth inhibition and genetic instability, and that this cellular response is efficiently regulated by hematopoietic growth factors.

Chromosome Research, 12, 239- 244

Molecular-cytogenetic characterization of the origin and the presence of pericentromeric euchromatin on minute supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMCs)

T. Liehr, G. Hickmann, P. Kozlowski, U. Claussen, H. Starke

Small supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMCs) in human can be defined as additional centric chromosome fragments smaller than chromosome 20. For most small or minute SMCs a correlation with clinical symptoms is lacking, mostly due to problems in visualizing their euchromatic content. Recently we described two new molecular cytogenetic approaches for the comprehensive characterization of small SMCs, excluding those few cases with neo-centromeres. Minute SMCs, consisting preferentially of alpha-satellite DNA, are characterizable in one step by the centromere-specific multicolor FISH (cenM-FISH) approach. For further characterization of minute SMCs and eventually present euchromatic content, the recently developed centromere-near-specific multicolor FISH (subcenM-FISH) technique can be applied. These two approaches are highly informative and easy to perform, as demonstrated in the present report on the example of a prenatal case with a minute SMC derived from chromosome 3 cytogenetically described as min(3)(:p12.1→q11.2:).

Blood, 104, 795- 801

Genomic DNA-chip hybridization in t(11;14)-positive mantle cell lymphomas shows a high frequency of aberrations and allows a refined characterization of consensus regions.

H. Kohlhammer, C. Schwaenen, S. Wessendorf, K. Holzmann, H.A. Kestler, D. Kienle, T.F.E. Barth, P. M{\"o}ller, G. Ott, J. Kalla, B. Radlwimmer, A. Pscherer, S. Stilgenbauer, H. D{\"o}hner, P. Lichter, M. Bentz

Tumor samples of 53 patients with t(11;14)-positive mantle cell lymphomas (MCLs) were analyzed by matrix-based comparative genomic hybridization (matrix-CGH) using a dedicated DNA array. In 49 cases, genomic aberrations were identified. In comparison to chromosomal CGH, a 50% higher number of aberrations was found and the high specificity of matrix-CGH was demonstrated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses. The 11q gains and 13q34 deletions, which have not been described as frequent genomic aberrations in MCL, were identified by matrix-CGH in 15 and 26 cases, respectively. For several genomic aberrations, novel consensus regions were defined: 8p21 (size of the consensus region, 2.4 megabase pairs [Mbp]; candidate genes: TNFRSF10B, TNFRSF10C, TNFRSF10D); 10p13 (2.7 Mbp; BMI1); 11q13 (1.4 Mbp; RELA); 11q13 (5.2 Mbp; CCND1); 13q14 (0.4 Mbp; RFP2, BCMSUN) and 13q34 (6.9 Mbp). In univariate analyses correlating genomic aberrations and clinical course, 8p- and 13q14- deletions were associated with an inferior overall survival. These data provide a basis for further studies focusing on the identification of pathogenetically or clinically relevant genes in MCL.

Histol Histopathol, 19, 229- 237

Multicolour FISH probe sets and their applications

T. Liehr, H. Starke, A. Weise, H. Lehrer, U. Claussen

Multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays are nowadays indispensable for a precise description of complex chromosomal rearrangements. Routine application of such techniques on human chromosomes started in 1996 with the simultaneous use of all 24 human whole chromosome painting probes in multiplex-FISH (M-FISH) and spectral karyotyping (SKY). Since then different approaches for chromosomal differentiation based on multicolor-FISH (mFISH) assays have been described. Predominantly, they have been established to characterize marker chromosomes identified in conventional banding analysis. Their characterization is of high clinical impact and is the requisite condition for further molecular investigations aimed at the identification of disease-related genes. Here we present a review on the available mFISH methods including their advantages, limitations and possible applications.

Leukemia Research, 28, 1013- 1021

Dynamics of telomere erosion and its association with genome instability in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia arising from MDS: a marker of disease prognosis?

Z. Sieglov{\'a}, S. Zilovcov{\'a}, J. Cerm{\'a}k, H. R{\'i}hov{\'a}, D. Brezinov{\'a}, R. Dvor{\'a}kov{\'a}, M. Markov{\'a}, J. Maaloufov{\'a}, J. Sajdov{\'a}, J. Brezinov{\'a}, Z. Zemanov{\'a}, K. Michalov{\'a}

Telomere length was evaluated by terminal repeat fragment method (TRF) in 50 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) arising from MDS and in 21 patients with untreated primary AML to ascertain, whether telomere erosion was associated with progression of MDS towards overt leukemia. Heterogeneity of TRF among MDS FAB subgroups (P=0.004) originated from its shortening in increased number of patients during progression of the disease. Chromosomal aberrations were present in 32% MDS patients with more eroded telomeres (P=0.022), nevertheless a difference between mean TRF in the subgroups with normal and abnormal karyotype diminished during progression of MDS. A negative correlation between individual TRF and IPSS value (P=0.039) showed that telomere dynamics might serve as a useful prognostic factor for assessment of an individual MDS patient’s risk and for decision of an optimal treatment strategy.

Leukemia Research, 29, 371- 379

The presence of clonal cell subpopulations in peripheral blood and bone marrow of patients with refractory cytopenia with multilieage dysplasia but not in patients with refractory anemia may reflect a multistep pathogenesis of myelodysplasia.

J. Cermak, M. Belickova, H. Krejcova, K. Michalova, S. Zilovcova, Z. Zemanova, H. Brezinova, Z. Sieglova

A clonal origin of hematopoiesis was studied by investigation of X-chromosome inactivation patterns (XCIP) in isolated granulocyte, CD14(+) and CD3(+) subpopulations obtained from bone marrow and peripheral blood of 36 female patients with primary myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Clonality was assessed by PCR amplification of polymorphic short tandem repeats of the human androgen receptor (HUMARA) gene and by investigation of silent polymorphism of iduronate sulphatase (IDS) or p55 genes. On the basis of results in a control group of 20 healthy age related females, a ratio of at least 9:1 between the two alleles was considered a significant marker of monoclonal hematopoiesis. Ten of the 11 patients with advanced forms of MDS (RAEB, RAEB-T, CMML) had clonal granulocytes and CD14(+) cells in peripheral blood. In patients with early disease, only 2 out of 11 patients (18%) with RA or RARS, according to WHO classification, had clonal granulocytes and CD14(+) cells in peripheral blood and bone marrow and 2 other patients with 5q-syndrome exhibited extremely oligoclonal granulocyte subpopulation in bone marrow. In contrast, we found clonal granulocytes in 12 out of 14 patients (86%) with refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia (RCMD) and 8 of them simultanously exhibited clonal CD14(+) cells. Estimated 3 years survival of patients with early disease and clonal cell subpopulations was 61% as compared with 88% in patients without clonal hematopoiesis. Karyotype abnormalities were detected in 11 of the 25 females with early disease. Clonal patterns were present in 7 out of 8 patients with abberations diagnosed by routine cytogenetics, nevertheless, FISH revealed 5q deletion in 3 patients without signs of clonality in XCIP assay. No correlation was found between the presence of clonal subpopulations and the degree of telomere shortening in early MDS. Despite some limitations, the measurement of XCIP remains a sensitive tool for diagnosis of the first transforming mutation in the clonal development of MDS especially when combined with FISH and when an age related group is used to establish an appropriate allele ratio to exclude constitutional or acquired skewing. The occurrence of clonal cell subpopulations in most of the RCMD patients in contrast to RA may reflect a proposed multistep pathogenesis of MDS with dysplastic changes limited to erythropoiesis in early step and with subsequent development of multilineage dysplasia. The results also support the usefulness of separation of RCMD from 'pure' RA; however, a more complex insight combining different molecular techniques performed in a large number of patients is needed for refined classification of MDS on the basis of new molecular prognostic factors and for indication of more effective targeted therapy.