27 May 2022

Mapping of sister chromatid exchange events and genome alterations in single cells

Zeid Hamadeh, Vincent Hanlon, Peter M. Lansdorp - Methods, 2022


Mammalian genomes encode over a hundred different helicases, many of which are implicated in the repair of DNA lesions by acting on DNA structures arising during DNA replication, recombination or transcription. Defining the in vivo substrates of such DNA helicases is a major challenge given the large number of helicases in the genome, the breadth of potential substrates in the genome and the degree of genetic pleiotropy among DNA helicases in resolving diverse substrates. Helicases such as WRN, BLM and RECQL5 are implicated in the resolution of error-free recombination events known as sister chromatid exchange events (SCEs). Single cell Strand-seq can be used to map the genomic location of individual SCEs at a resolution that exceeds that of classical cytogenetic techniques by several orders of magnitude. By mapping the genomic locations of SCEs in the absence of different helicases, it should in principle be possible to infer the substrate specificity of specific helicases. Here we describe how the genome can be interrogated for such DNA repair events using single-cell template strand sequencing (Strand-seq) and bioinformatic tools. SCEs and copy-number alterations were mapped to genomic locations at kilobase resolution in haploid KBM7 cells. Strategies, possibilities, and limitations of Strand-seq to study helicase function are illustrated using these cells before and after CRISPR/Cas9 knock out of WRNBLM and/or RECQL5.

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