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Recurrent non-coding U1-snRNA mutations drive cryptic splicing in Shh medulloblastoma

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Recurrent somatic single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in cancer are largely confined to protein-coding genes, and are rare in most paediatric cancers1–3. Here we report highly recurrent hotspot mutations of U1 spliceosomal small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) in ~50% of Sonic hedgehog medulloblastomas (Shh-MB), which were not present across other medulloblastoma subgroups. This U1-snRNA hotspot mutation (r.3a>g), was identified in <0.1% of 2,442 cancers across 36 other tumour types. Largely absent from infant Shh-MB, the mutation occurs in 97% of adults (Shhδ), and 25% of adolescents (Shhα). The U1-snRNA mutation occurs in the 5′ splice site binding region, and snRNA mutant tumours have significantly disrupted RNA splicing with an excess of 5′ cryptic splicing events. Mutant U1-snRNA-mediated alternative splicing inactivates tumour suppressor genes (PTCH1), and activates oncogenes (GLI2, CCND2), represents a novel target for therapy, and constitutes a highly recurrent and tissue-specific mutation of a non-protein coding gene in cancer.

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Author information

Correspondence to Michael D. Taylor.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains a guide for Supplementary Tables 1-21 (Supplementary Table files supplied separately)

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Supplementary Tables

This file contains Supplementary Tables 1-21 – see Supplementary Information document for full guide

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