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Medical and Pediatric Oncology, 36, 205- 209
2001

Automatic detection and genetic profiling of disseminated neuroblastoma cells.

G. Méhes, A. Luegmayr, C.M. Hattinger, T. Lörch, I.M. Ambros, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

BACKGROUND: Rare tumor cells circulating in the hematopoietic system can escape identification. On the other hand, the nature of these cells, positive for an immunologiCal tumor marker, cannot be determined without any genetic information. PROCEDURE: To overcome these problems a novel computer assisted scanning system for automatic cell search, analysis, and sequential repositioning was developed. This system allows an exact quantitative analysis of rare tumor cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood by sequential immunological and molecular cytogenetic characterization. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In that virtually all tumor cells in a mixing experiment could be recovered unambiguously, we can conclude that the sensitivity of this approach is set by the number of cells available for analysis. Sequential FISH analyses of immunologically positive cells improve both the specificity and the sensitivity of the microscopic minimal residual disease detection.

Medical and Pediatric Oncology, 36, 205- 209
2001

Automatic detection and genetic profiling of disseminated neuroblastoma cells

G. Méhes, A. Luegmayr, C.M. Hattinger, T. Lörch, I.M. Ambros, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

BACKGROUND: Rare tumor cells circulating in the hematopoietic system can escape identification. On the other hand, the nature of these cells, positive for an immunologiCal tumor marker, cannot be determined without any genetic information. PROCEDURE: To overcome these problems a novel computer assisted scanning system for automatic cell search, analysis, and sequential repositioning was developed. This system allows an exact quantitative analysis of rare tumor cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood by sequential immunological and molecular cytogenetic characterization. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In that virtually all tumor cells in a mixing experiment could be recovered unambiguously, we can conclude that the sensitivity of this approach is set by the number of cells available for analysis. Sequential FISH analyses of immunologically positive cells improve both the specificity and the sensitivity of the microscopic minimal residual disease detection.

Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer, 30, 274- 282
2001

Molecular cytogenetic and clinical findings in ETV6/ABL1-positive leukemia

H. Van Limbergen, H.B. Beverloo, van Drunen, E., A. Janssens, K. Hählen, B. Poppe, N. Van Roy, P. Marynen, de Paepe, A., R. Slater, F. Speleman

Rearrangements of 12p, resulting from deletions or translocations, are common findings in hematologic malignancies. In many cases, these rearrangements target the ETV6 gene (previously called TEL) located at 12p13. Various partner genes have been implicated in the formation of fusion genes with ETV6. These include PDGFRB, JAK2, NTRK3, ABL2, and ABL1, each of which encodes for proteins with tyrosine kinase activity. To date, ETV6/ABL1 transcripts have been detected in only four patients with a leukemic disorder. Here, we describe one adult with chronic myeloid leukemia and a child with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia with ETV6/ABL1. Molecular cytogenetic analysis confirmed that formation of an ETV6/ABL1 fusion in these patients required at least three chromosomal breaks and showed that each of these translocations is the result of a complex chromosomal rearrangement. Molecular analysis showed the presence of two fusion transcripts in both patients as the result of alternative splicing, questioning the suggested role of these transcripts in the lineage specificity. Clinical findings of these patients were compared to those of previously reported cases, and the possible clinical and biological similarities between ETV6/ABL1 and other fusion genes leading to increased tyrosine kinase activity are discussed.

Leukemia, 15, 275- 277
2001

Unequivocal identification of disseminated tumor cells in the bone marrow by combining immunological and genetic approaches–functional and prognostic information.

P.F. Ambros, G. Méhes, C. Hattinger, I.M. Ambros, A. Luegmayr, R. Ladenstein, H. Gadner

The detection and quantification of disseminated tumor cells (DTC) present in the bone marrow (BM), peripheral blood (PB) and apheresis products (AP) are becoming increasingly significant in the treatment of cancer patients. Three different applications are implemented in the clinical practice of pediatric and adult solid tumor patients: (1) the identification of tumor cells in the BM and PB at diagnosis; (2) the response of occult tumor cells to high-dose chemotherapy; and (3) the presence of tumor cells in the autograft. In solid tumors the clinical significance of DTCs at diagnosis or during the course of the disease, usually termed minimal residual disease (MRD) testing, is still under debate. These indistinct results are mainly due to methodical reasons. Therefore, a fully automated system (RCDetect/metafer) combining the detection of 'tumor-specific' immunological features together with 'tumor-typical' DNA aberrations has been developed allowing the unambiguous visualization of tumor cells in a hematopoietic surrounding.

Genes, Chromososmes & Cancer, 28, 329- 336
2000

Chromosomal regions involved in the pathogenesis of osteosarcomas.

C. Stock, L. Kager, F.-M. Fink, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

The comparative genomic hybridization technique (CGH) was used to identify common chromosomal imbalances in osteosarcomas (OS), which frequently display complex karyotypic changes. We analyzed 13 high-grade primary tumors, 5 corresponding cell lines, 2 primary tumors grade 2, and 1 recurrent tumor from a total of 16 patients. Some of the CGH results have been verified by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies. Gains of chromosomal material were more frequent than losses. Most common gains were observed at 8q (11 cases), 4q (9 cases), 7q (8 cases), 5p (7 cases), and 1p (8 cases). The smallest regions of overlap have been narrowed down to 8q23 (10 cases), 4q12-13 (8 cases), 5p13-14 (7 cases), 7q31-32 (7 cases), 8q21 (7 cases), and 4q28-31 (5 cases). These data demonstrate that a number of chromosomal regions and even two distinct loci on 4q and 8q are involved in the pathogenesis of OS, with gain of 4q12-13 chromosomal material representing a newly identified locus. Seven of 16 cases displayed, besides gain of 8q23 sequences, gain of MYC copies in CGH and FISH. Previous CGH reports confined gain of 8q material to 8cen-q13, 8q21.3-8q22, and 8q23-qter, whereas our data suggest that the loci 8q21 and 8q23-24 are affected in the development of OS. In contrast to recent reports, copy number increases at 8q and 1q21 did not have an unfavorable impact on prognosis in the present series. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 28:329-336, 2000.

J. Cell Biol., 151, 95- 106
2000

Meiotic telomere protein Ndj1p is required for meiosis-specific telomere distribution, bouquet formation and efficient homologue pairing

E. Trelles-Sticken, M.E. Dresser, H. Scherthan

We have investigated the requirements for NDJ1 in meiotic telomere redistribution and clustering in synchronized cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. On induction of wild-type meiosis, telomeres disperse from premeiotic aggregates over the nuclear periphery, and then cluster near the spindle pole body (bouquet arrangement) before dispersing again. In ndj1Δ meiocytes, telomeres are scattered throughout the nucleus and fail to form perinuclear meiosis-specific distribution patterns, suggesting that Ndj1p may function to tether meiotic telomeres to the nuclear periphery. Since ndj1Δ meiocytes fail to cluster their telomeres at any prophase stage, Ndj1p is the first protein shown to be required for bouquet formation in a synaptic organism. Analysis of homologue pairing by two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization with cosmid probes to regions on III, IX, and XI revealed that disruption of bouquet formation is associated with a significant delay (>2 h) of homologue pairing. An increased and persistent fraction of ndj1Δ meiocytes with Zip1p polycomplexes suggests that chromosome polarization is important for synapsis progression. Thus, our observations support the hypothesis that meiotic telomere clustering contributes to efficient homologue alignment and synaptic pairing. Under naturally occurring conditions, bouquet formation may allow for rapid sporulation and confer a selective advantage.

Int. J. Oncol., 16, 1099- 1105
2000

Delimiting the use of comparative genomic hybridization in human myeloid neoplastic disorders

E. Gebhart, I. Verdorfer, W. Saul, U. Trautmann, L. Brecevic

Hematopoietic disorders can be used as a suitable tool of additional information on the actual resolving power of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Therefore, CGH examination was performed of DNA extracted from 23 acute and 15 chronic myeloproliferative disorders which had just been analyzed using classical cytogenetic techniques. In nearly all cases CGH analysis was repeated with reversely labeled probes. A Zeiss axioplan microscope was equipped with the ISIS 3 system for photometric evaluation of the CGH data. A main group was selected of 34 cases showing karyotypic mosaics when routinely diagnosed by classical cytogenetics. The grade of mosaicism was basically determined from the classical cytogenetic analysis and was additionally defined examining target anomalies by I-FISH analysis in 28 of the cases. The second group included 23 cases with deletions, and in 1 case another informative genomic imbalance could be analyzed. Every target anomaly irrespective of its type could be detected in all cases with an affected cell population equalling or exceeding about 25%, but in none was it below 23%. This value was the lowest and was found in a case, with CGH-detected 20q deletion. The smallest deletions of two bands on 20q which could visually be detected by CGH were estimated in the range of 5-7 Mb. CGH was also suitable to detect imbalances which were not clearly detected by routine cytogenetics. Reverse labelling, performed in nearly all cases, confirmed the result of the original CGH analysis. These data not only document the readiness and reliability of CGH studies on human leukemia, but also further contribute to a clearer definition of the limits of the resolving power of this technique.

Human Genetics, 104, 315- 325
1999

The structure and dynamics of ring chromosomes in human neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells

D. Gisselson, M. Höglund, F. Mertens, B. Johansson, P. Dal Cin, den Berghe, H. Van, W. C. Earnshaw, F. Mitelman, N. Mandahl

Acquired ring chromosomes have been found in most types of human neoplasia, with a frequency approaching 10% in malignant mesenchymal tumours. In this study, the composition and dynamics of ring chromosomes were analysed in eight cases of acute myelogenous leukaemia, 17 solid tumours, and five cases with constitutional rings. Chromosomal banding and fluorescence in situ hybridisation were performed to determine the content and the structural heterogeneity of the rings. Telomeric repeats were detected using peptide nucleic acid probes or primed in situ labelling, whereas centromeric activity was evaluated by detection of kinetochore proteins. Mitotic instability was assessed by the frequency of anaphase bridges. The results suggest that human ring chromosomes can be structurally and functionally divided into two categories. In the first of these, size variation is minimal and rearrangement at cell division is uncommon. The majority of such rings contain subtelomeric sequences. Constitutional ring chromosomes and most rings in leukaemias belong to this group, whereas only a few mesenchymal tumours exhibit rings of this type. The second category consists of rings with amplified sequences, primarily from chromosome 12, characteristically occurring in atypical lipomatous tumours and other subtypes of low or borderline malignant mesenchymal neoplasms. Variation in size and number is extensive, and breakage-fusion-bridge events occur at a high frequency. Abnormalities in pericentromeric sequences are common and, in some cases, kinetochores assemble in the absence of alphoid DNA. We conclude that it is not only the ring structure per se or the neoplastic nature of the host cell that determines ring instability, but probably also the functional role of the genes carried in the ring.

PNAS, 95, 8147- 8152
1998

Evolution of the avia sex chromosomes from an anchestral pair of autosomes

A.-K. Fridolfsson, H. Cheng, N.G. Copeland, N.A. Jenkins, H.-C. Liu, T. Raudsepp, T. Woodage, B. Chowdhary, J. Halverson, H. Ellegren

Among the mechanisms whereby sex is determined in animals, chromosomal sex determination is found in a wide variety of distant taxa. The widespread but not ubiquitous occurrence, not even within lineages, of chromosomal sex determination suggests that sex chromosomes have evolved independently several times during animal radiation, but firm evidence for this is lacking. The most favored model for this process is gradual differentiation of ancestral pairs of autosomes. As known for mammals, sex chromosomes may have a very ancient origin, and it has even been speculated that the sex chromosomes of mammals and birds would share a common chromosomal ancestry. In this study we showed that the two genes, ATP5A1 and CHD1, so far assigned to the female-specific W chromosome of birds both exist in a very closely related copy on the Z chromosome but are not pseudoautosomal. This indicates a common ancestry of the two sex chromosomes, consistent with the evolution from a pair of autosomes. Comparative mapping demonstrates, however, that ATP5A1 and CHD1 are not sex-linked among eutherian mammals; this is also not the case for the majority of other genes so far assigned to the avian Z chromosome. Our results suggest that the evolution of sex chromosomes has occurred independently in mammals and birds.

Chromosome Res, 6, 478- 494
1998

Interspecies comparative genome hybridization and interspecies representational difference analysis reveal gross DNA differences between humans and great apes

R. Toder, Y. Xia, E. Bausch

Comparative chromosome G-/R-banding, comparative gene mapping and chromosome painting techniques have demonstrated that only few chromosomal rearrangements occurred during great ape and human evolution. Interspecies comparative genome hybridization (CGH), used here in this study, between human, gorilla and pygmy chimpanzee revealed species-specific regions in all three species. In contrast to the human, a far more complex distribution of species-specific blocks was detected with CGH in gorilla and pygmy chimpanzee. Most of these blocks coincide with already described heterochromatic regions on gorilla and chimpanzee chromosomes. Representational difference analysis (RDA) was used to subtract the complex genome of gorilla against human in order to enrich gorilla-specific DNA sequences. Gorilla-specific clones isolated with this technique revealed a 32-bp repeat unit. These clones were mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to the telomeric regions of gorilla chromosomes that had been shown by interspecies CGH to contain species-specific sequences.

American Journal of Pathology, 152, 1107- 1123
1998

DNA Copy Number Amplifications In Human Neoplasms

S. Knuutila, A.-M. Björkqvist, K. Autio, M. Tarkkanen, et al, M. Wolf

This review summarizes reports of recurrent DNA sequence copy number amplifications in human neoplasms detected by comparative genomic hybridization. Some of the chromosomal areas with recurrent DNA copy number amplifications (amplicons) of 1p22-p31, 1p32-p36, 1q, 2p13-p16, 2p23-p25, 2q31-q33, 3q, 5p, 6p12-pter, 7p12-p13, 7q11.2, 7q21-q22, 8p11-p12, 8q, 11q13-q14, 12p, 12q13-q21, 13q14, 13q22-qter, 14q13-q21, 15q24-qter, 17p11.2-p12, 17q12-q21, 17q22-qter, 18q, 19p13.2-pter, 19cen-q13.3, 20p11.2-p12, 20q, Xp11.2-p21, and Xp11-q13 and genes therein are presented in more detail. The paper with more than 150 references and two tables can be accessed from our web site http://www.helsinki.fi/lglvwww/CMG.html. The data will be updated biannually until the year 2001.

Journal of Cell Biology, 141, 21- 29
1998

Yeast Nuclei Display Prominent Centromere Clustering That Is Reduced in Nondividing Cells and in Meiotic Propahse

Q.-W. Jin, E. Trelles-Sticken, H. Sherthan, J. Loidl

Chromosome arrangement in spread nuclei of the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae was studied by fluorescence in situ hybridization with probes to centromeres and telomeric chromosome regions. We found that during interphase centromeres are tightly clustered in a peripheral region of the nucleus, whereas telomeres tend to occupy the area outside the centromeric domain. In vigorously growing cultures, centromere clustering occurred in approximately 90% of cells and it appeared to be maintained throughout interphase. It was reduced when cells were kept under stationary conditions for an extended period. In meiosis, centromere clusters disintegrated before the emergence of the earliest precursors of the synaptonemal complex. Evidence for the contribution of centromere clustering to other aspects of suprachromosomal nuclear order, in particular the vegetative association of homologous chromosomes, is provided, and a possible supporting role in meiotic homology searching is discussed.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 167- 171
1998

Creation of monosomic derivatives of human cultured cell lines

D.J. Clarke, J.F. Giménez-Abián, H. Tönnies, H. Neitzel, K. Sperling, C.S. Downes, R.T. Johnson

Monosomic mammalian cell lines would be ideal for studying gene dosage effects, including gene imprinting, and for systematic isolation of recessive somatic mutants parallel to the invaluable mutants derived from haploid yeast. But autosomal monosomies are lethal in early development; although monosomies appear in tumors, deriving cell lines from these tumors is difficult and cannot provide several syngenic lines. We have developed a strategy for generating stable monosomic human cells, based on random autosomal integration of the gpt plasmid, partial inhibition of DNA topoisomerase II during mitosis to promote chromatid nondisjunction, and selection against retention of gpt. These are likely to be valuable as a source of otherwise inaccessible mutants. The strategy can also be used to generate partial mammalian monosomies, which are desirable as a source of information on recessive genes and gene imprinting.

Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics, 78, 96- 102
1997

Monosomy 6 in human cultured fibroblast-like cells after long-term stimulation with acidic fibroblast growth factor (FGF1)

W. Krone, H. Kehrer-Sawatzki, A. Siegel, H. Röck, H. Götz

Long-term exposure to fibroblast growth factor type 1 (FGF1) of fibroblast-like cells derived from neurofibromas of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1, from angiofibromas of patients with tuberous sclerosis, and from foreskin of unaffected donors resulted in the outgrowth of monosomy 6 in 7 out of 14 cell lines examined. After their initial detection by cytogenetic analysis, the proportion of cells which had lost one chromosome 6 was monitored by FISH using a-satellite probes specific for chromosome 6 and 7, and by PCR analysis of polymorphic microsatellite markers. Monosomy 6 exceeding baseline levels developed only in cultures exposed to FGF 1, and the emergence of monosomic cells could not be correlated with a given donor's genotype. During serial culture, the proportion of monosomic cells increased to over 90% in 5 of the 7 affected strains. A conspicuous change of cellular morphology from spindle-shaped to more epithelial-type cells was noted in monosomic cultures, even though none of them converted to a permanent cell line during the observation period. We conclude that long-term exposure of human fibroblast-like cell strains to FGF1 results in the emergence of monosomy 6 in 50% of the cultures so treated. A selective advantage for such monosomic cells is the most likely explanation for their steady increase during serial culture.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 56, 743- 748
1997

Detection of Malignant Cells in Cerebrospinal Fluid Using Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization

R.J. Van Oostenbrugg, A.H.N. Hopman, M.H. Lenders, P. Van Heerde, J.-W. Arends, F.C.S. Ramaekers, A. Twijnstra

Cytologic examination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the diagnostic gold standard for leptomeningeal metastasis (LMM). However, this technique is only moderately sensitive when routine staining procedures are applied. The use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify malignant cells may have an additional value in diagnosing LMM, since numerical chromosomal aberrations (NCA) can be detected at the single cell level. We tested the feasibility of FISH to detect tumor cells in CSF by analyzing 22 samples with proven LMM with a probe for chromosome 1 (1q12) to detect NCA in the cells. A control group consisted of samples from 10 patients with inflammatory neurologic disease. In 7 LMM samples no cells or only lysed cells were found, due to time delay before fixation. Of the other 15 LMM samples analyzed, 13 showed NCA (87%), while no NCA were found in the control group. Our results indicate that FISH may be a useful additional diagnostic tool to the cytodiagnosis of CSF in cases of LMM. We expect that FISH can become an additional marker for malignancy at the single cell level in patients with LMM, which may also be of use to determine the effect of therapy for LMM.