Nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) is one of the major mechanisms underlying copy number variation in the human genome. Although several disease-associated meiotic NAHR breakpoints have been analyzed in great detail, hotspots for mitotic NAHR are not well characterized. Type-2 NF1 microdeletions, which are predominantly of postzygotic origin, constitute a highly informative model with which to investigate the features of mitotic NAHR. Here, a custom-designed MLPA- and PCR-based approach was used to identify 23 novel NAHR-mediated type-2 NF1 deletions. Breakpoint analysis of these 23 type-2 deletions, together with 17 NAHR-mediated type-2 deletions identified previously, revealed that the breakpoints are nonuniformly distributed within the paralogous SUZ12 and SUZ12P sequences. Further, the analysis of this large group of type-2 deletions revealed breakpoint recurrence within short segments (ranging in size from 57 to 253-bp) as well as the existence of a novel NAHR hotspot of 1.9-kb (termed PRS4). This hotspot harbored 20% (8/40) of the type-2 deletion breakpoints and contains the 253-bp recurrent breakpoint region BR6 in which four independent type-2 deletion breakpoints were identified. Our findings indicate that a combination of an open chromatin conformation and short non-B DNA-forming repeats may predispose to recurrent mitotic NAHR events between SUZ12 and its pseudogene.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.