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Chromosomal mosaicism goes global

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Molecular Cytogenetics

BioMed Central

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      Abstract

      Intercellular differences of chromosomal content in the same individual are defined as chromosomal mosaicism (alias intercellular or somatic genomic variations or, in a number of publications, mosaic aneuploidy). It has long been suggested that this phenomenon poorly contributes both to intercellular (interindividual) diversity and to human disease. However, our views have recently become to change due to a series of communications demonstrated a higher incidence of chromosomal mosaicism in diseased individuals (major psychiatric disorders and autoimmune diseases) as well as depicted chromosomal mosaicism contribution to genetic diversity, the central nervous system development, and aging. The later has been produced by significant achievements in the field of molecular cytogenetics. Recently, Molecular Cytogenetics has published an article by Maj Hulten and colleagues that has provided evidences for chromosomal mosaicism to underlie formation of germline aneuploidy in human female gametes using trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) as a model. Since meiotic aneuploidy is suggested to be the leading genetic cause of human prenatal mortality and postnatal morbidity, these data together with previous findings define chromosomal mosaicism not as a casual finding during cytogenetic analyses but as a more significant biological phenomenon than previously recognized. Finally, the significance of chromosomal mosaicism can be drawn from the fact, that this phenomenon is involved in genetic diversity, normal and abnormal prenatal development, human diseases, aging, and meiotic aneuploidy, the intrinsic cause of which remains, as yet, unknown.

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      Mechanisms and consequences of somatic mosaicism in humans.

      Somatic mosaicism -- the presence of genetically distinct populations of somatic cells in a given organism -- is frequently masked, but it can also result in major phenotypic changes and reveal the expression of otherwise lethal genetic mutations. Mosaicism can be caused by DNA mutations, epigenetic alterations of DNA, chromosomal abnormalities and the spontaneous reversion of inherited mutations. In this review, we discuss the human disorders that result from somatic mosaicism, as well as the molecular genetic mechanisms by which they arise. Specifically, we emphasize the role of selection in the phenotypic manifestations of mosaicism.
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        Aneuploidy and Confined Chromosomal Mosaicism in the Developing Human Brain

        Background Understanding the mechanisms underlying generation of neuronal variability and complexity remains the central challenge for neuroscience. Structural variation in the neuronal genome is likely to be one important mechanism for neuronal diversity and brain diseases. Large-scale genomic variations due to loss or gain of whole chromosomes (aneuploidy) have been described in cells of the normal and diseased human brain, which are generated from neural stem cells during intrauterine period of life. However, the incidence of aneuploidy in the developing human brain and its impact on the brain development and function are obscure. Methodology/Principal Findings To address genomic variation during development we surveyed aneuploidy/polyploidy in the human fetal tissues by advanced molecular-cytogenetic techniques at the single-cell level. Here we show that the human developing brain has mosaic nature, being composed of euploid and aneuploid neural cells. Studying over 600,000 neural cells, we have determined the average aneuploidy frequency as 1.25–1.45% per chromosome, with the overall percentage of aneuploidy tending to approach 30–35%. Furthermore, we found that mosaic aneuploidy can be exclusively confined to the brain. Conclusions/Significance Our data indicates aneuploidization to be an additional pathological mechanism for neuronal genome diversification. These findings highlight the involvement of aneuploidy in the human brain development and suggest an unexpected link between developmental chromosomal instability, intercellural/intertissular genome diversity and human brain diseases.
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          Aneuploidy and DNA replication in the normal human brain and Alzheimer's disease.

          Reactivation of the cell cycle, including DNA replication, might play a major role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). A more than diploid DNA content in differentiated neurons might alternatively result from chromosome mis-segregation during mitosis in neuronal progenitor cells. It was our objective to distinguish between these two mechanisms for aneuploidy and to provide evidence for a functional cell cycle in AD. Using slide-based cytometry, chromogenic in situ hybridization, and PCR amplification of alu-repeats, we quantified the DNA amount of identified cortical neurons in normal human brain and AD and analyzed the link between a tetraploid DNA content and expression of the early mitotic marker cyclin B1. In the normal brain, the number of neurons with a more than diploid content amounts to approximately 10%. Less than 1% of neurons contains a tetraploid DNA content. These neurons do not express cyclin B1, most likely representing constitutional tetraploidy. This population of cyclin B1-negative tetraploid neurons, at a reduced number, is also present in AD. In addition, a population of cyclin B1-positive tetraploid neurons of approximately 2% of all neurons was observed in AD. Our results indicate that at least two different mechanisms need to be distinguished giving rise to a tetraploid DNA content in the adult brain. Constitutional aneuploidy in differentiated neurons might be more frequent than previously thought. It is, however, not elevated in AD. In addition, in AD some neurons have re-entered the cell cycle and entirely passed through a functional interphase with a complete DNA replication.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]National Research Center of Mental Health, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, 119152, Russia
            [2 ]Institute of Pediatrics and Children Surgery, Rosmedtechnologii, Moscow, 127412, Russia
            Contributors
            Journal
            Mol Cytogenet
            Molecular Cytogenetics
            BioMed Central
            1755-8166
            2008
            25 November 2008
            : 1
            : 26
            2612668
            1755-8166-1-26
            19032785
            10.1186/1755-8166-1-26
            Copyright © 2008 Iourov et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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            Genetics

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