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Tri-allelic heteroplasmies, DNA-RNA differences and their polynucleotide tract associations in the mitochondrial genome

Zhao, Shilin, Samuels, David C., Zhao, Ying-yong, Guo, Yan
Genomics 2018 v.110 no.4 pp. 211-220
DNA, RNA, RNA editing, breast neoplasms, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, humans, methylation, mitochondrial genome, patients, transcription (genetics)
The human mitochondrial genome has been extensively studied for its function and disease associations. Utilizing five types of high-throughput sequencing data on ten breast cancer patients (total N=50), we examined several aspects of the mitochondrial genome that have not been thoroughly studied, including the occurrence of tri-allelic heteroplasmy, the difference between DNA and RNA, and the variants association with polynucleotide tracts. We validated four previously reported and identified 23 additional tri-allelic positions. Furthermore, we detected 18 single nucleotide and seven InDel differences between DNA and RNA. Previous studies have suggested that some of these differences are caused by post transcriptional methylation. The rest can be accredited to RNA editing, polyadenylation or sequencing errors. Most importantly, we found that the tri-allelic positions, and differences between DNA and RNA, are strongly associated with polynucleotide tracts in the mitochondrial genome, suggesting DNA instability or difficulty sequencing around the polynucleotide tract regions.