Human genomics 2017 07 1111(1) 15 doi 10.1186/s40246-017-0112-8
Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) causes adult T cell leukemia (ATL) in a proportion of infected individuals after a long latency period. Development of ATL is a multistep clonal process that can be investigated by monitoring the clonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells by isolation of provirus integration sites. The clonal composition (size, number, and combinations of clones) during the latency period in a given infected individual has not been clearly elucidated.
We used high-throughput sequencing technology coupled with a tag system for isolating integration sites and measuring clone sizes from 60 clinical samples. We assessed the role of clonality and clone size dynamics in ATL onset by modeling data from high-throughput monitoring of HTLV-1 integration sites using single- and multiple-time-point samples.
From four size categories analyzed, we found that big clones (B; 513-2048 infected cells) and very big clones (VB; >2048 infected cells) had prognostic value. No sample harbored two or more VB clones or three or more B clones. We examined the role of clone size, clone combination, and the number of integration sites in the prognosis of infected individuals. We found a moderate reverse correlation between the total number of clones and the size of the largest clone. We devised a data-driven model that allows intuitive representation of clonal composition.
This integration site-based clonality tree model represents the complexity of clonality and provides a global view of clonality data that facilitates the analysis, interpretation, understanding, and visualization of the behavior of clones on inter- and intra-individual scales. It is fully data-driven, intuitively depicts the clonality patterns of HTLV-1-infected individuals and can assist in early risk assessment of ATL onset by reflecting the prognosis of infected individuals. This model should assist in assimilating information on clonal composition and understanding clonal expansion in HTLV-1-infected individuals.