Array-Based Sequence Capture and Next-Generation Sequencing for the Identification of Primary Immunodeficiencies

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Primary immunodeficiencies are genetic disorders in which components of immunological pathways are either missing or dysregulated. With the advent of next-generation sequencing, testing for genes in conditions with a heterogeneous genetic background seems more promising. We designed a custom microarray with 385K probe capacity to capture exons of 395 human genes, known or predicted to be associated with primary immunodeficiency and immune regulation. Enriched target DNA was sequenced using a GS FLX Titanium 454 platform. The patients selected were likely to have an underlying immunodeficiency. In one patient with hepatosplenomegaly, recurrent infections and an elevated IgM level, sequence analysis of the patient and his two unaffected parents identified ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) as the underlying defect. In a second child with a clinical SCID phenotype, we detected a mutation in the ARTEMIS gene after focusing on SCID-associated genes. 454 sequencing yielded 152,000–397,000 high-quality reads per patient. 78–99% of the targeted nucleotides were covered at least one time, 76–82% at least five times. Array-based sequence capture expands our capacities to sequence large targeted DNA regions in a less laborious and time-consuming approach. Our array was capable to find the underlying genetic defect in two patients with suspected primary immunodeficiency. Upcoming whole-exome sequencing definitely will add more valuable data, but bioinformatical analysis and validation of variants already pose major challenges.

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