Error-prone polymerase activity causes multinucleotide mutations in humans

Other literature type, Preprint English OPEN
Harris, Kelley ; Nielsen, Rasmus (2013)
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1101/gr.170696.113
  • Subject: Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution | Research

About 2% of human genetic polymorphisms have been hypothesized to arise via multinucleotide mutations (MNMs), complex events that generate SNPs at multiple sites in a single generation. MNMs have the potential to accelerate the pace at which single genes evolve and to confound studies of demography and selection that assume all SNPs arise independently. In this paper, we examine clustered mutations that are segregating in a set of 1,092 human genomes, demonstrating that MNMs become enriched as large numbers of individuals are sampled. We leverage the size of the dataset to deduce new information about the allelic spectrum of MNMs, estimating the percentage of linked SNP pairs that were generated by simultaneous mutation as a function of the distance between the affected sites and showing that MNMs exhibit a high percentage of transversions relative to transitions. These findings are reproducible in data from multiple sequencing platforms. Among tandem mutations that occur simultaneously at adjacent sites, we find an especially skewed distribution of ancestral and derived dinucleotides, with $\textrm{GC}\to \textrm{AA}$, $\textrm{GA}\to \textrm{TT}$ and their reverse complements making up 36% of the total. These same mutations dominate the spectrum of tandem mutations produced by the upregulation of low-fidelity Polymerase $\zeta$ in mutator strains of S. cerevisiae that have impaired DNA excision repair machinery. This suggests that low-fidelity DNA replication by Pol $\zeta$ is at least partly responsible for the MNMs that are segregating in the human population, and that useful information about the biochemistry of MNM can be extracted from ordinary population genomic data. We incorporate our findings into a mathematical model of the multinucleotide mutation process that can be used to correct phylogenetic and population genetic methods for the presence of MNMs.
Share - Bookmark