Integration of Hi-C with short and long-read genome sequencing reveals the structure of germline rearranged genomes

Robert Schöpflin, Uirá Souto Melo, Hossein Moeinzadeh, David Heller, Verena Laupert, Jakob Hertzberg, Manuel Holtgrewe, Nico Alavi, Marius Konstantin Klever, Julius Jungnitsch, Emel Comak, Seval Türkmen, Denise Horn, Yannis Duffourd, Laurence Faivre, Patrick Callier, Damien Sanlaville, Orsetta Zuffardi, Romano Tenconi, Nehir Edibe KurtasSabrina Giglio, Bettina Prager, Anna Latos-Bielenska, Ida Vogel, Merete Bugge, Niels Tommerup, Malte Spielmann, Antonio Vitobello, Vera M. Kalscheuer, Martin Vingron*, Stefan Mundlos*

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Structural variants are a common cause of disease and contribute to a large extent to inter-individual variability, but their detection and interpretation remain a challenge. Here, we investigate 11 individuals with complex genomic rearrangements including germline chromothripsis by combining short- and long-read genome sequencing (GS) with Hi-C. Large-scale genomic rearrangements are identified in Hi-C interaction maps, allowing for an independent assessment of breakpoint calls derived from the GS methods, resulting in >300 genomic junctions. Based on a comprehensive breakpoint detection and Hi-C, we achieve a reconstruction of whole rearranged chromosomes. Integrating information on the three-dimensional organization of chromatin, we observe that breakpoints occur more frequently than expected in lamina-associated domains (LADs) and that a majority reshuffle topologically associating domains (TADs). By applying phased RNA-seq, we observe an enrichment of genes showing allelic imbalanced expression (AIG) within 100 kb around the breakpoints. Interestingly, the AIGs hit by a breakpoint (19/22) display both up- and downregulation, thereby suggesting different mechanisms at play, such as gene disruption and rearrangements of regulatory information. However, the majority of interpretable genes located 200 kb around a breakpoint do not show significant expression changes. Thus, there is an overall robustness in the genome towards large-scale chromosome rearrangements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6470
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Medical Genetics

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-03 Human Genetics

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