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Monogenic and polygenic inheritance become instruments for clonal selection

By Po-Ru Loh, Giulio Genovese, Steven A. McCarroll

Posted 29 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/653691 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2430-6)

Clonally expanded blood cells with somatic mutations (clonal hematopoiesis, CH) are commonly acquired with age and increase risk of later blood cancer. To identify genes and mutations that give selective advantage to mutant clones, we identified among 482,789 UK Biobank participants some 19,632 autosomal mosaic chromosomal alterations (mCAs), including deletions, duplications, and copy number-neutral loss of heterozygosity (CNN-LOH). Analysis of these acquired mutations, along with inherited genetic variation, revealed 52 inherited, rare, large-effect coding or splice variants (in seven genes) that greatly (odds ratios of 11 to 758) increased vulnerability to CH with specific acquired CNN-LOH mutations. Acquired mutations systematically replaced the inherited risk alleles (at MPL ) or duplicated them to the homologous chromosome (at FH , NBN , MRE11 , ATM , SH2B3 , and TM2D3 ). Three of the seven genes ( MRE11 , NBN , and ATM ) encode components of the MRN-ATM pathway, which limits cell division after DNA damage and telomere attrition; another two ( MPL , SH2B3 ) encode proteins that regulate stem cell self-renewal. In addition to these monogenic inherited forms of CH, we found a common and surprisingly polygenic form: CNN-LOH mutations across the genome tended to cause chromosomal segments with alleles that promote hematopoietic cell proliferation to replace their homologous (allelic) counterparts, increasing polygenic drive for blood-cell proliferation traits. This dynamic reveals a challenge for lifelong cytopoiesis in any genetically diverse species: individuals inherit unequal proliferative genetic potentials on paternally and maternally derived chromosome-pairs, and readily-acquired mutations that replace chromosomal segments with their homologous counterparts give selective advantage to mutant cells.

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