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Whole-exome sequencing of endometriosis identifies frequent alterations in genes involved in cell adhesion and chromatin-remodeling complexes

Whole-exome sequencing of endometriosis identifies frequent alterations in genes involved in cell adhesion and chromatin-remodeling complexes

Human Molecular Genetics 23(22): 6008-6021

Endometriosis is a complex and enigmatic disease that arises from the interplay among multiple genetic and environmental factors. The defining feature of endometriosis is the deposition and growth of endometrial tissues at sites outside of the uterine cavity. Studies to date have established that endometriosis is heritable but have not addressed the causal genetic variants for this disease. Here, we conducted whole-exome sequencing to comprehensively search for somatic mutations in both eutopic and ectopic endometrium from 16 endometriosis patients and five normal control patients using laser capture microdissection. We compared the mutational landscape of ectopic endometrium with the corresponding eutopic sample from endometriosis patients compared with endometrium from normal women and identified previously unreported mutated genes and pathway alternations. Statistical analysis of exome data identified that most genes were specifically mutated in both eutopic and ectopic endometrium cells. In particular, genes that are involved in biological adhesion, cell-cell junctions, and chromatin-remodeling complex(es) were identified, which partially supports the retrograde menstruation theory that proposes that endometrial cells are refluxed through the fallopian tubes during menstruation and implanted onto the peritoneum or pelvic organs. Conspicuously, when we compared exomic mutation data for paired eutopic and ectopic endometrium, we identified a mutational signature in both endometrial types for which no overlap in somatic single nucleotide variants were observed. These mutations occurred in a mutually exclusive manner, likely because of the discrepancy in endometriosis pathology and physiology, as eutopic endometrium rapidly regrows, and ectopic endometrial growth is inert. Our findings provide, to our knowledge, an unbiased view of the landscape of genetic alterations in endometriosis and vital information for indicating that genetic alterations in cytoskeletal and chromatin-remodeling proteins could be involved in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, thus implicating a novel therapeutic possibility for endometriosis.

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Accession: 056942293

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PMID: 24969084

DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddu330

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