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Genome Res. 2008 Mar;18(3):370-9. doi: 10.1101/gr.7010208. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Segmental duplications and evolutionary plasticity at tumor chromosome break-prone regions.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm SE-171 77, Sweden.


We have previously found that the borders of evolutionarily conserved chromosomal regions often coincide with tumor-associated deletion breakpoints within human 3p12-p22. Moreover, a detailed analysis of a frequently deleted region at 3p21.3 (CER1) showed associations between tumor breaks and gene duplications. We now report on the analysis of 54 chromosome 3 breaks by multipoint FISH (mpFISH) in 10 carcinoma-derived cell lines. The centromeric region was broken in five lines. In lines with highly complex karyotypes, breaks were clustered near known fragile sites, FRA3B, FRA3C, and FRA3D (three lines), and in two other regions: 3p12.3-p13 ( approximately 75 Mb position) and 3q21.3-q22.1 ( approximately 130 Mb position) (six lines). All locations are shown based on NCBI Build 36.1 human genome sequence. The last two regions participated in three of four chromosome 3 inversions during primate evolution. Regions at 75, 127, and 131 Mb positions carry a large ( approximately 250 kb) segmental duplication (tumor break-prone segmental duplication [TBSD]). TBSD homologous sequences were found at 15 sites on different chromosomes. They were located within bands frequently involved in carcinoma-associated breaks. Thirteen of them have been involved in inversions during primate evolution; 10 were reused by breaks during mammalian evolution; 14 showed copy number polymorphism in man. TBSD sites showed an increase in satellite repeats, retrotransposed sequences, and other segmental duplications. We propose that the instability of these sites stems from specific organization of the chromosomal region, associated with location at a boundary between different CG-content isochores and with the presence of TBSDs and "instability elements," including satellite repeats and retroviral sequences.

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