Printer Friendly

Identification of germline mutations in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer using base excision sequence scanning analysis.

Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominantly inherited disease caused by loss of function of DNA mismatch repair genes. Defects in MLH1 and MSH2 account for ~98% of the mutations in HNPCC families (1). Identification of gene carriers within these families is of great importance because surveillance may be restricted to genetically affected relatives. Identification of mutations by direct sequencing is time-consuming and not feasible in a large-scale clinical setting. Molecular screening strategies, including single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis (2), denaturing gradient-gel electrophoresis (3), constant denaturant gel electrophoresis (4), or in vitro transcription/ translation assays (5), have been described and may facilitate the detection of mutations. However, these techniques often have low sensitivity with mutation detection rates of only 35-70% (6), or they are highly accurate but are technically difficult to perform (3-5). In the present study, we developed and evaluated a modified base excision sequence scanning (BESS) protocol (7) for the detection of MLH1 and MSH2 germline mutations. This simple method is based on the incorporation of dUTP into the PCR products. Subsequent digestion with uracil N-glycosylase, which releases uracil from both single-stranded and double-stranded DNA and thus creates apyrimidinic sites, and endonuclease IV, which cleaves the phosphodiester bond at these sites, generates a defined series of fragments (7, 8).

Lymphocytes were prepared from whole blood of patients with HNPCC and healthy subjects using Vacutainer cell preparation tubes (Becton Dickinson). After extraction of total RNA (Tri-Star-Kit; AGS), complementary DNA synthesis was performed with reverse transcriptase (Superscript; Life Technologies) and random hexamer oligonucleotides or 2.5 [micro]mol/L reverse primers (Table 1). The PCR amplification was carried out in a Perkin-Elmer 9700 PCR system in a total volume of 50 [micro]L containing 5 U of AmpliTaq Gold polymerase (Perkin-Elmer); 60 mmol/L Tris-HCl, pH 8.5; 15 mmol/L [(N[H.sub.4]).sub.2]S[O.sub.4]; 3.5 mmol/L Mg[Cl.sub.2]; 200 [micro]mol/L dATP, dTTP, dGTP, and dCTP; 16 [micro]mol/L dUTP (Biozym Diagnostik); and 2.5 [micro]mol/L forward and reverse primers (Table 1). Either the forward or the reverse primer was labeled with 6-carboxy-fluorescein. Amplification conditions were optimized and applied as follows: 10 min at 95[degrees]C; 50 cycles of 30 s at 95[degrees]C and 30 s at 50, 55, or 65[degrees]C, depending on the amplified fragments (see Table 1), and 1 min at 72[degrees]C; and final extension 10 min at 72[degrees]C. PCR products were purified on 1.5% agarose gels using the Qiaquick Gel purification kit (Qiagen). The eluted DNA was digested in 20 [micro]L of a solution with 2 [micro]L of excision enzyme mixture containing uracil N-glycosylase and endonuclease IV (Biozym Diagnostik), 50 mmol/L Tris-HCl (pH 9.0), 20 mmol/L [(NH.sub.4]).sub.2]S[O.sub.4], and 10 mmol/L EDTA at 37[degrees]C for 45 min. The fragments of the digested PCR products, ranging in size from 22 to 480 bp, were mixed with 11.5 [micro]L of formamide and 1.5 [micro]L of TAMRA size marker (N,N,N',N'tetramethyl-6-carboxyrhodamine; Perkin-Elmer) and electrophoresed for 40 min on an automated ABI 310 DNA sequencer with laser scanning and linear detection characteristics (Perkin-Elmer). The peak pattern represented fragments ending with dUTP and was comparable with the "T" lane of a conventional sequencing reaction. BESS analyses of the MLH1 and MSH2 genes were performed on samples from four patients with known sequence-confirmed mutations and subsequently prospectively on samples from four patients who fulfilled the Amsterdam criteria. The appearance, disappearance, or change in intensity of a peak in comparison with a control, which indicated the presence of a mutation, was assessed by an investigator who was unaware of the direct sequence data. All patients consented to participate in the study, which was approved by the Ethics Committee for Medical Research in Frankfurt a.M. in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

In families with HNPCC, 214 different germline mutations have been described to date by direct sequence analysis: 127 mutations were located in the MLH1 gene and 81 in the MSH2 gene, whereas only 6 mutations were detected in the MSH6, the PMS1, or the PMS2 gene (9). To establish and evaluate BESS as a screening method, three representative mutations and one polymorphism of MLH1 and MSH2 were analyzed. Initially, we investigated a heterozygous ACG [right arrow] ATG missense mutation in codon 117, exon 4 of the MLH1 gene leading to a change from threonine to methionine (MLH1, Thr117Met). BESS analysis identified this mutation by an additional peak at nucleotide position 350 (Fig. 1A). In addition, we performed BESS analysis on a patient with a heterozygous TGT [right arrow] CGT missense mutation in codon 697, exon 13 of the MSH2 gene (MSH2, Cys697Arg). As shown in Fig. 1B, this mutation was detectable by a 50% reduction of the T peak at nucleotide position 2089. As a third representative mutation, we investigated an as yet unidentified 1-bp deletion within codon 782, exon 14 of the MSH2 gene (MSH2, DEL782FS). This frameshift mutation produced a complex fragment pattern in the BESS analysis, which was caused by the superimposed band pattern of the wild-type and mutant alleles. When compared with the BESS pattern of a healthy control subject, the deletion at nucleotide position 2345 was clearly identified (Fig. 1C). However, in a patient with a known GGC [right arrow] GGG polymorphism in codon 713 of the MSH2 gene (MSH2, G1y713G1y), a BESS pattern identical to those of healthy control subjects (n = 7) was observed (data not shown). Subsequently, we investigated the MLH1 and MSH2 genes of patients fulfilling the Amsterdam criteria prospectively by the BESS protocol. In two patients, missense mutations in the MSH2 gene, one in codon 322 (MSH2, G1y965Asp) and one as yet unidentified mutation in codon 388 (MSH2, Pro1165Leu), were detected. In the third patient, BESS analysis showed another as yet unidentified missense mutation in codon 618 of the MLH1 gene (MLH1, G1u1853Asp). All mutations detected by the BESS protocol were confirmed by direct sequencing. In the remaining patient, BESS analysis and direct sequencing revealed no mutation in MLH1 and MSH2.

RNA-based techniques provide an interesting approach for mutation screening because 81% of these genetic defects are located in exons and the remaining 19% are relevant intronic mutations that lead to detectable splicing variants. BESS analysis identifies missense mutations, deletions, insertions, repeat expansions, and frameshift mutations at sites involving dTTP, which account for 96% of known MLH1 and MSH2 mutations (1,9). To date, only 8 of 208 MLH1 and MSH2 mutations have been identified as G [right arrow] C or C [right arrow] G missense mutations (9), which cannot be detected by the BESS method. Thus, the sensitivity of BESS analysis (7) for detecting MLH1 and MSH2 mutations theoretically should be higher compared with in vitro transcription/translation (62%) (5) and single-strand conformation polymorphism techniques (35-70%) (6). However, for the definite determination of accuracy of the BESS method, a large prospective evaluation is required. In healthy controls, we did not observe aberrant BESS peak patterns, indicating high specificity.


BESS analysis of MLH1 and MSH2 can be performed on an automated sequencer in less than 24 h with a hands-on time of 6 h. In addition, a potential mutation must be confirmed by sequence analysis. Nevertheless, the costs of BESS analysis are <50% compared with complete genomic sequence analysis. BESS is considerably less labor-intensive than genomic sequencing and several other screening methods, such as constant denaturant gel electrophoresis, denaturing gradient-gel electrophoresis, and in vitro transcription/ translation assays (3-5). With the described BESS method, we could analyze fragments of up to 500 bp. To further accelerate mutation screening, we attempted to analyze PCR fragments of up to 750 bp. Despite extension of the electrophoresis time, we were not able to resolve distinct fragment peaks; this problem might be overcome by the use of longer capillaries or an optimized polymer.

In summary, the described modified BESS method allows rapid, efficient, and simple detection of MLH1 and MSH2 germline mutations in HNPCC. Its application can improve the genetic diagnosis of hereditary cancer susceptibility syndromes caused by germline mutations of large genes without mutation hotspots.


(1.) Peltomaki P, Vasen HE Mutations predisposing to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer: database and results of a collaborative study. The International Collaborative Group on Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer. Gastroenterology 1997;113:1146-58.

(2.) Orita M, Suzuki Y, Sekiya T, Hayashi K. Rapid and sensitive detection of point mutations and DNA polymorphisms using the polymerase chain reaction. Genomics 1989;5:874-9.

(3.) Wijnen J, Vasen H, Khan PM, Menko FH, van der Klift H, van Leeuwen C, et al. Seven new mutations in hMSH2, an HNPCC gene, identified by denaturing gradient-gel electrophoresis. Am J Hum Genet 1995;56:1060-6.

(4.) Borresen AL, Lothe RA, Meling GI., Lystad S, Morrison P, Lipford J, et al. Somatic mutations in the hMSH2gene in microsatellite unstable colorectal carcinomas. Hum Mol Genet 1995;4:2065-72.

(5.) Luce MC, Marra G, Chauhan DP, Laghi L, Carethers JM, Cherian SP, et al. In vitro transcription/translation assay for the screening of hMLH1 and hMSH2 mutations in familial colon cancer. Gastroenterology 1995;109:1368-74.

(6.) Sarkar G, Yoon HS, Sommer SS. Screening for mutations by RNA single-strand conformation polymorphism (rSSCP): comparison with DNA-SSCP. Nucleic Acids Res 1992;20:871-8.

(7.) Hawkins GA, Hoffman LM. Base excision sequence scanning. Nat Biotechnol 1997;15:803-4.

(8.) Vaughan P, McCarthy TV. A novel process for mutation detection using uracil DNA-glycosylase. Nucleic Acids Res 1998;26:810-5.

(9.) ICG-HNPCC database.

Angela Brieger, [l] Jorg Trojan, [1] Jochen Raedle, [l] W. Kurt Roth, [2] and Stefan Zeuzem [l] *

[1] Medizinische Klinik II, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat and [2] Blutspendedienst Hessen, D-60590 Frankfurt a.M., Germany; * address correspondence to this author at: Medizinische Klinik II, Zentrum der Inneren Medizin, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, D-60590 Frankfurt a.M., Germany; fax 49-69-6301-4807, e-mail Zeuzem@ em.uni-Fankfurt. de)
Table 1. Primers for amplification and BESS analysis of overlapping
MLH1 and MSH2 fragments. (a)

 PCR primer
Fragment Size, (nucleotide Sequence
 bp position)
 1 377 Forward P1 5'-ATG TCG TTC GTG
 (1-22) GCA GGG GTT A-3'
 Reverse P1 5'-TAT GCA CAC TTT
 (357-377) CCA TCA GC-3'

 2 380 Forward P2 5'-CCT TTG AGG ATT
 (259-281) TAG CCA GTA T-3'
 Reverse P2 5'-TGA GAA ACTA
 (617-639) ATG CCT GCA TTG-3'

 3 277 Forward P3 5'-TGA AGA ATA TGG
 (509-531) GAA AAT TTT G-3'
 Reverse P3 5'-GAT GAA GAG TAA
 (766-786) GAA GAT GC-3'

 4 434 Forward P4 5'-GAA TGG TTA CAT
 (725-745) ATC CAA TG-3'
 Reverse P4 5'-CTG TAC GAA CCA
 (1137-1159) TCT GGT GGG C-3'

 5 410 Forward P5 5'-CCT CGT CTT CTA
 (1099-1121) CTT CTG GAA G-3'
 Reverse P5 5'-AAA CAC TAG TGA
 (1487-1509) GGT TAA TGA T-3'

 6 341 Forward P6 5'-AAA TGG TGG AAG
 (1438-1460) ATG ATT CCC G-3'
 Reverse P6 5'-TGG ACT ATC TAA
 (1757-1779) GGC AAG CAT G-3'

 7 319 Forward P7 5'-TTT TGG TGT TCT
 (1709-1731) CAG GTT ATC G-3'
 Reverse P7 5'-TTT CTT CGT CCC
 (2008-2028) AAT TCA CC-3'

 8 480 Forward P8 5'-CCT ATC TTC ATT
 (1979-2001) CTT CGA CTA G-3'
 Reverse P8 5'-TTA AGA CAC ATC
 (2437-2459) TAT TTA TTT A-3'


 9 359 Forward P9 5'-ATG GCG GTG CAG
 (1-22) CCG AAG GAGA-3'
 Reverse P9 5'-CAA ATA CCA ATC
 (337-359) ATT CTC CTT G-3'

 10 300 Forward P10 5'-GTT GAA GTT TAT
 (297-319) AAG AAT AGA G-3'
 Reverse P10 5'-ACA TTC CTT TGG
 (575-597) TCC AAT CTG G-3'

 11 360 Forward P11 5'-GAT AAT GAT CAG
 (537-559) TTC TCC AAT C-3'
 Reverse P11 5'-ATA CTG GCT GAA
 (875-897) GTC AAA AGT A-3'

 12 360 Forward P12 5'-TTA TCA GAT GAT
 (837-859) TCC AAC TTT G-3'
 Reverse P12 5'-TGC TGC TTG TCT
 (1175-1197) TTG AAA CTT C-3'

 13 360 Forward P13 5'-TTA CTT CGT CGA
 (1137-1159) TTC CCA GAT C-3'
 Reverse P13 5'-TGC ACT TAT TAA
 (1475-1497) TGT TGA CTG C-3'

 14 360 Forward P14 5'-GAA TTA AGA GAA
 1437-1459) ATA ATG AAT G-3'
 Reverse P14 5'-TAA CAC ATC ATT
 (1775-1797) GAG TGT CTG C-3'

 15 370 Forward P15 5'-CAT TGT TAA AGA
 (1727-1749) AAT TGT CAA T-3'
 Reverse P15 5'-TGA CTC ACA TGG
 (2075-2097) CAC AAA ACA C-3'

 16 370 Forward P16 5'-CGA CAA ACT GGG
 (2037-2059) GTG ATA GTA C-3'
 Reverse P16 5'-TGA CAT GTA GAT
 (2385-2407) TAT TAA CAG T-3'

 17 300 Forward P17 5'-TTT GCA ACC CAT
 (2337-2359) TTT CAT GAA C-3'
 Reverse P17 5'-TTG CTC TCT TTC
 (2615-2637) CAG ATA GCA C-3'

 18 300 Forward P18 5'-TCG CAA GGA TAT
 (2577-2599) GAT ATC ATG G-3'
 Reverse P18 5'-AAT ATA AAA CAA
 (2855-2877) TAT AAA ACT A-3'

 19 253 Forward P19 5'-ATG GAA TGA AGG
 (2817-2839) TAA TAT TGA T-3'
 Reverse P19 5'-CTA CAT GAT TTT
 (3048-3070) ATT TAT AAA A-3'

 Optimal annealing
Fragment RT, (b) primer temperature,
 1 Random hexamers 55
 2 Random hexamers 55
 3 Reverse primer 50
 4 Reverse primer 55
 5 Reverse primer 50
 6 Reverse primer 65
 7 Random hexamers 50
 8 Random hexamers 50

 9 Random hexamers 50
 10 Random hexamers 50
 11 Random hexamers 50
 12 Random hexamers 50
 13 Reverse primer 50
 14 Reverse primer 50
 15 Reverse primer 50
 16 Reverse primer 50
 17 Reverse primer 50
 18 Reverse primer 50
 19 Random hexamers 50

(a) BESS analysis of both strands using forward and reverse
6-carboxy-fluorescein-labeled primers, respectively.

(b) RT, reverse transcriptase.
COPYRIGHT 1999 American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Technical Briefs
Author:Brieger, Angela; Trojan, Jorg; Raedle, Jochen; Roth, W. Kurt; Zeuzem, Stefan
Publication:Clinical Chemistry
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Previous Article:Change in transferrin receptor concentrations with age.
Next Article:Pitfalls of direct HDL-cholesterol measurements in mouse models of hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters