Purpose: Approximately 1% of individuals who carry a balanced reciprocal translocation (BRT) are subfertile. Current karyotyping does not have the resolution to determine whether the breakpoints of the involved chromosomes perturb genes important for fertility. The aim of this study was to apply single-molecule optical mapping (SMOM) to patients presenting for IVF (in vitro fertilization) to ascertain whether the BRT disrupted any genes associated with normal fertility.
Methods: Nine subfertile patients with different BRTs were recruited for the study. Methyltransferase enzyme DLE1 was used to fluorescently label their genomic DNA samples at the recognition motif CTTAAG. The SMOM was performed on the Bionano platform, and long molecules aligned against the reference genome hg19 to identify the breakpoint regions. Mate-pair and PCR-Sanger sequencing were used to confirm the precise breakpoint sequences.
Results: Both breakpoint regions in each of the nine BRTs were finely mapped to small regions of approximately 10 Kb, and their positions were consistent with original cytogenetic banding patterns determined by karyotyping. In three BRTs, breakpoints disrupted genes known to be associated with male infertility, namely NUP155 and FNDC3A [46,XY,t(5;13)(p15;q22)], DPY19L1 [46,XY,t(1;7)(p36.3;p15), and BAI3 [46,XY,t(3;6)(p21;q16)].
Conclusions: The SMOM has potential clinical application as a rapid tool to screen patients with BRTs for underlying genetic causes of infertility and other diseases.
Keywords: Balanced reciprocal translocation (BRT); Infertility; Mate-pair sequencing; Single-molecule optical mapping.