Complex Structural Variants Resolved by Short-Read and Long-Read Whole Genome Sequencing in Mendelian Disorders
14th March 2018 - BioRxiv
Complex structural variants (cxSVs) are genomic rearrangements comprising multiple structural variants, typically involving three or more breakpoint junctions. They contribute to human genomic variation and can cause Mendelian disease, however they are not typically considered during genetic testing. Here, we investigate the role of cxSVs in Mendelian disease using short-read whole genome sequencing (WGS) data from 1,324 individuals with neurodevelopmental or retinal disorders from the NIHR BioResource project. We present four cases of individuals with a cxSV affecting Mendelian disease-associated genes. Three of the cxSVs are pathogenic: a de novo duplication-inversion-inversion-deletion affecting ARID1B in an individual with Coffin-Siris syndrome, a deletion-inversion-duplication affecting HNRNPU in an individual with intellectual disability and seizures, and a homozygous deletion-inversion-deletion affecting CEP78 in an individual with cone-rod dystrophy. Additionally, we identified a de novo duplication-inversion-duplication overlapping CDKL5 in an individual with neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. Long-read sequencing technology used to resolve the breakpoints demonstrated the presence of both a disrupted and an intact copy of CDKL5 on the same allele; therefore, it was classified as a variant of uncertain significance. Analysis of sequence flanking all breakpoint junctions in all the cxSVs revealed both microhomology and longer repetitive sequences, suggesting both replication and homology based processes. Accurate resolution of cxSVs is essential for clinical interpretation, and here we demonstrate that long-read WGS is a powerful technology by which to achieve this. Our results show cxSVs are an important although rare cause of Mendelian disease, and we therefore recommend their consideration during research and clinical investigations.