Contrasting patterns of somatic mutations in neurons and glia reveal differential predisposition to disease in the aging human brain.
Characterizing the mechanisms of somatic mutations in the brain is important for understanding aging and disease, but little is known about the mutational patterns of different cell types. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 71 oligodendrocytes and 51 neurons from neurotypical individuals (0.4 to 104 years old) and identified >67,000 somatic single nucleotide variants (sSNVs) and small insertions and deletions (indels). While both cell types accumulate mutations with age, oligodendrocytes accumulate sSNVs 69% faster than neurons (27/year versus 16/year) whereas indels accumulate 42% slower (1.8/year versus 3.1/year). Correlation with single-cell RNA and chromatin accessibility from the same brains revealed that oligodendrocyte mutations are enriched in inactive genomic regions and are distributed similarly to mutations in brain cancers. In contrast, neuronal mutations are enriched in open, transcriptionally active chromatin. These patterns highlight differences in the mutagenic processes in glia and neurons and suggest cell type-specific, age-related contributions to neurodegeneration and oncogenesis.
|Year of Publication
bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology