Academic Appointments

All Publications

  • Targeted profiling of human extrachromosomal DNA by CRISPR-CATCH. Nature genetics Hung, K. L., Luebeck, J., Dehkordi, S. R., Colon, C. I., Li, R., Wong, I. T., Coruh, C., Dharanipragada, P., Lomeli, S. H., Weiser, N. E., Moriceau, G., Zhang, X., Bailey, C., Houlahan, K. E., Yang, W., Gonzalez, R. C., Swanton, C., Curtis, C., Jamal-Hanjani, M., Henssen, A. G., Law, J. A., Greenleaf, W. J., Lo, R. S., Mischel, P. S., Bafna, V., Chang, H. Y. 2022


    Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is a common mode of oncogene amplification but is challenging to analyze. Here, we adapt CRISPR-CATCH, in vitro CRISPR-Cas9 treatment and pulsed field gel electrophoresis of agarose-entrapped genomic DNA, previously developed for bacterial chromosome segments, to isolate megabase-sized human ecDNAs. We demonstrate strong enrichment of ecDNA molecules containing EGFR, FGFR2 and MYC from human cancer cells and NRAS ecDNA from human metastatic melanoma with acquired therapeutic resistance. Targeted enrichment of ecDNA versus chromosomal DNA enabled phasing of genetic variants, identified the presence of an EGFRvIII mutation exclusively on ecDNAs and supported an excision model of ecDNA genesis in a glioblastoma model. CRISPR-CATCH followed by nanopore sequencing enabled single-molecule ecDNA methylation profiling and revealed hypomethylation of the EGFR promoter on ecDNAs. We distinguished heterogeneous ecDNA species within the same sample by size and sequence with base-pair resolution and discovered functionally specialized ecDNAs that amplify select enhancers or oncogene-coding sequences.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41588-022-01190-0

    View details for PubMedID 36253572

  • Oncogene Convergence in Extrachromosomal DNA Hubs. Cancer discovery Weiser, N. E., Hung, K. L., Chang, H. Y. 2022: OF1-OF4


    Extrachromosomal DNA circles (ecDNA) are a common mechanism for oncogene amplification and are associated with worse clinical outcomes compared with other types of oncogene amplification. Several recent discoveries of ecDNA hubs-local congregations of ecDNAs in the nucleus-highlight unique features of ecDNA biology that may contribute to higher oncogene expression and rapid tumor evolution.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-22-0076

    View details for PubMedID 35398879

  • ecDNA hubs drive cooperative intermolecular oncogene expression. Nature Hung, K. L., Yost, K. E., Xie, L., Shi, Q., Helmsauer, K., Luebeck, J., Schopflin, R., Lange, J. T., Chamorro Gonzalez, R., Weiser, N. E., Chen, C., Valieva, M. E., Wong, I. T., Wu, S., Dehkordi, S. R., Duffy, C. V., Kraft, K., Tang, J., Belk, J. A., Rose, J. C., Corces, M. R., Granja, J. M., Li, R., Rajkumar, U., Friedlein, J., Bagchi, A., Satpathy, A. T., Tjian, R., Mundlos, S., Bafna, V., Henssen, A. G., Mischel, P. S., Liu, Z., Chang, H. Y. 2021


    Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is prevalent in human cancers and mediates high expression of oncogenes through gene amplification and altered gene regulation1. Gene induction typically involves cis-regulatory elements that contact and activate genes on the same chromosome2,3. Here we show that ecDNA hubs-clusters of around 10-100 ecDNAs within the nucleus-enable intermolecular enhancer-gene interactions to promote oncogene overexpression. ecDNAs that encode multiple distinct oncogenes form hubs in diverse cancer cell types and primary tumours. Each ecDNA is more likely to transcribe the oncogene when spatially clustered with additional ecDNAs. ecDNA hubs are tethered by the bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) protein BRD4 in a MYC-amplified colorectal cancer cell line. The BET inhibitor JQ1 disperses ecDNA hubs and preferentially inhibits ecDNA-derived-oncogene transcription. The BRD4-bound PVT1 promoter is ectopically fused to MYC and duplicated in ecDNA, receiving promiscuous enhancer input to drive potent expression of MYC. Furthermore, the PVT1 promoter on an exogenous episome suffices to mediate gene activation in trans by ecDNA hubs in a JQ1-sensitive manner. Systematic silencing of ecDNA enhancers by CRISPR interference reveals intermolecular enhancer-gene activation among multiple oncogene loci that are amplified on distinct ecDNAs. Thus, protein-tethered ecDNA hubs enable intermolecular transcriptional regulation and may serve as units of oncogene function and cooperative evolution and as potential targets for cancer therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-04116-8

    View details for PubMedID 34819668