Microfluidic amplification as a tool for massive parallel sequencing of familial hypercholesterolemia genes

Hollants, S., Redeker, E.J., Matthijs, G.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant disorder that affects cholesterol metabolism and is an important risk factor for heart disease. Three different genes were causally linked to this disorder: LDLR (low density lipoprotein receptor), APOB [apolipoprotein B (including Ag(x) antigen)], and PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9). We evaluated a new amplicon preparation tool for resequencing these genes on next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms.

For the 3 genes, 38 primer pairs were designed and loaded on the Fluidigm Access Array®, a microfluidic array in which a PCR was performed. We amplified 144 DNA samples (73 positive controls and 71 patient samples) and performed 3 sequencing runs on a GS FLX Titanium system from Roche® 454™, using pyrosequencing. Data were analyzed with the SeqNext module of the Sequence Pilot software.

From the 38 amplicons, 37 were amplified successfully, without any further optimization. Sequencing resulted in a mean coverage of the individual amplicons of 71-fold, 74-fold, and 117-fold for the 3 runs, respectively. In the positive controls, all known mutations were identified. In 29% of the patient samples, a pathogenic point mutation or small deletion/insertion was found. Large rearrangements were not detectable with NGS, but were picked up by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification.

Combining a microfluidic amplification system with massive parallel sequencing is an effective method for mutation scanning in FH patients, which can be implemented in diagnostics. For data analysis, we propose a minimum variant frequency threshold of 20% and a minimum coverage of 25-fold.


Hollants, S., Redeker, E.J., Matthijs, G. "Microfluidic amplification as a tool for massive parallel sequencing of familial hypercholesterolemia genes" American Association for Clinical Chemistry (2012): 717–24