26th October 2017 - BioRxiv
Acquired genomic structural variants (SVs) are major hallmarks of the cancer genome. Their complexity has been challenging to reconstruct from short-read sequencing data. Here, we exploit the long-read sequencing capability of the nanopore platform using our customized pipeline, Picky, to reveal SVs of diverse architecture in a breast cancer model. From modest sequencing coverage, we identified the full spectrum of SVs with superior specificity and sensitivity relative to short-read analyses and uncovered repetitive DNA as the major source of variation. Examination of the genome-wide breakpoints at nucleotide-resolution uncovered micro-insertions as the common structural features associated with SVs. Breakpoint density across the genome is associated with propensity for inter-chromosomal connectivity and transcriptional regulation. Furthermore, an over-representation of reciprocal translocations from chromosomal double-crossovers was observed through phased SVs. The comprehensive characterization of SVs using the robust long-read sequencing approach in cancer cohorts will facilitate strategies to monitor genome stability during tumor evolution and improve therapeutic intervention.