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Saturation genome editing of 11 codons and exon 13 of BRCA2 coupled with chemotherapeutic drug response accurately determines pathogenicity of variants

PLoS Genet. 2023 Sep 15;19(9):e1010940. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010940. Online ahead of print.


The unknown pathogenicity of a significant number of variants found in cancer-related genes is attributed to limited epidemiological data, resulting in their classification as variant of uncertain significance (VUS). To date, Breast Cancer gene-2 (BRCA2) has the highest number of VUSs, which has necessitated the development of several robust functional assays to determine their functional significance. Here we report the use of a humanized-mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) line expressing a single copy of the human BRCA2 for a CRISPR-Cas9-based high-throughput functional assay. As a proof-of-principle, we have saturated 11 codons encoded by BRCA2 exons 3, 18, 19 and all possible single-nucleotide variants in exon 13 and multiplexed these variants for their functional categorization. Specifically, we used a pool of 180-mer single-stranded donor DNA to generate all possible combination of variants. Using a high throughput sequencing-based approach, we show a significant drop in the frequency of non-functional variants, whereas functional variants are enriched in the pool of the cells. We further demonstrate the response of these variants to the DNA-damaging agents, cisplatin and olaparib, allowing us to use cellular survival and drug response as parameters for variant classification. Using this approach, we have categorized 599 BRCA2 variants including 93-single nucleotide variants (SNVs) across the 11 codons, of which 28 are reported in ClinVar. We also functionally categorized 252 SNVs from exon 13 into 188 functional and 60 non-functional variants, demonstrating that saturation genome editing (SGE) coupled with drug sensitivity assays can enhance functional annotation of BRCA2 VUS.

PMID:37713444 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1010940

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