UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Spectrum of variations in dog-1/FANCJ and mdf-1/MAD1 defective Caenorhabditis elegans strains after long-term propagation Tarailo-Graovac, Maja; Wong, Tammy; Qin, Zhaozhao; Flibotte, Stephane; Taylor, Jon; Moerman, Donald G; Rose, Ann M; Chen, Nansheng


Background: Whole and partial chromosome losses or gains and structural chromosome changes are hallmarks of human tumors. Guanine-rich DNA, which has a potential to form a G-quadruplex (G4) structure, is particularly vulnerable to changes. In Caenorhabditis elegans, faithful transmission of G-rich DNA is ensured by the DOG-1/FANCJ deadbox helicase. Results: To identify a spectrum of mutations, after long-term propagation, we combined whole genome sequencing (WGS) and oligonucleotide array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (oaCGH) analysis of a C. elegans strain that was propagated, in the absence of DOG-1 and MDF-1/MAD1, for a total of 470 generations, with samples taken for long term storage (by freezing) in generations 170 and 270. We compared the genomes of F170 and F470 strains and identified 94 substitutions, 17 InDels, 3 duplications, and 139 deletions larger than 20 bp. These homozygous variants were predicted to impact 101 protein-coding genes. Phenotypic analysis of this strain revealed remarkable fitness recovery indicating that mutations, which have accumulated in the strain, are not only tolerated but also cooperate to achieve long-term population survival in the absence of DOG-1 and MDF-1. Furthermore, deletions larger than 20 bp were the only variants that frequently occurred in G-rich DNA. We showed that 126 of the possible 954 predicted monoG/C tracts, larger than 14 bp, were deleted in unc-46 mdf-1 such-4; dog-1 F470 (JNC170). Conclusions: Here, we identified variants that accumulated in C. elegans’ genome after long-term propagation in the absence of DOG-1 and MDF-1. We showed that DNA sequences, with G4-forming potential, are vulnerable to deletion-formation in this genetic background.

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