Diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome and Angelman syndrome by targeted nanopore long-read sequencing

Eur J Med Genet. 2023 Feb;66(2):104690. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2022.104690. Epub 2022 Dec 30.


The CpG island flanking the promoter region of SNRPN on chromosome 15q11.2 contains CpG sites that are completely methylated in the maternally derived allele and unmethylated in the paternally derived allele. Both unmethylated and methylated alleles are observed in normal individuals. Only the methylated allele is observed in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome, whereas only the unmethylated allele is observed in those with Angelman syndrome. Hence, detection of aberrant methylation at the differentially methylated region is fundamental to the molecular diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome and Angelman syndromes. Traditionally, bisulfite treatment and methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme treatment or methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) have been used. We here developed a long-read sequencing assay that can distinguish methylated and unmethylated CpG sites at 15q11.2 by the difference in current intensity generated from nanopore reads. We successfully diagnosed 4 Prader-Willi syndrome patients and 3 Angelman syndrome patients by targeting differentially methylated regions. Concurrent copy number analysis, homozygosity analysis, and structural variant analysis also allowed us to precisely delineate the underlying pathogenic mechanisms, including gross deletion, uniparental heterodisomy, uniparental isodisomy, or imprinting defect. Furthermore, we showed allele-specific methylation in imprinting-related differentially methylated regions on chromosomes 6, 7, 11, 14, and 20 in a normal individual together with 4 Prader-Willi patients and 3 Angelman syndrome patients. Hence, presently reported method is likely to be applicable to the diagnosis of imprinting disorders other than Prader-Willi syndrome and Angelman syndrome as well.

Keywords: Angelman syndrome; Long-read sequencing; Methylation; Nanopore; Prader-Willi syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Angelman Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Angelman Syndrome* / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15 / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Humans
  • Nanopores*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / genetics
  • Uniparental Disomy