Characterisation of retrotransposon insertion polymorphisms in whole genome sequencing data from individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Abigail L. Savage, Alfredo Iacoangeli, Gerald G. Schumann, Alejandro Rubio-Roldan, Jose L. Garcia-Perez, Ahmad Al Khleifat, Sulev Koks, Vivien J. Bubb, Ammar Al-Chalabi, John P. Quinn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The genetics of an individual is a crucial factor in understanding the risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There is still a large proportion of the heritability of ALS, particularly in sporadic cases, to be understood. Among others, active transposable elements drive inter-individual variability, and in humans long interspersed element 1 (LINE1, L1), Alu and SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA) retrotransposons are a source of polymorphic insertions in the population. We undertook a pilot study to characterise the landscape of non-reference retrotransposon insertion polymorphisms (non-ref RIPs) in 15 control and 15 ALS individuals’ whole genomes from Project MinE, an international project to identify potential genetic causes of ALS. The combination of two bioinformatics tools (mobile element locator tool (MELT) and TEBreak) identified on average 1250 Alu, 232 L1 and 77 SVA non-ref RIPs per genome across the 30 analysed. Further PCR validation of individual polymorphic retrotransposon insertions showed a similar level of accuracy for MELT and TEBreak. Our preliminary study did not identify a specific RIP or a significant difference in the total number of non-ref RIPs in ALS compared to control genomes. The use of multiple bioinformatic tools improved the accuracy of non-ref RIP detection and our study highlights the potential importance of studying these elements further in ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146799
JournalGene
Volume843
Early online date19 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Alu
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • LINE-1
  • Polymorphism
  • Retrotransposon
  • SVA
  • Whole genome sequencing

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