Enhancer hijacking determines extrachromosomal circular MYCN amplicon architecture in neuroblastoma


  • K. Helmsauer
  • M.E. Valieva
  • S. Ali
  • R. Chamorro González
  • R. Schöpflin
  • C. Röefzaad
  • Y. Bei
  • H. Dorado Garcia
  • E. Rodriguez-Fos
  • M. Puiggròs
  • K. Kasack
  • K. Haase
  • C. Keskeny
  • C.Y. Chen
  • L.P. Kuschel
  • P. Euskirchen
  • V. Heinrich
  • M.I. Robson
  • C. Rosswog
  • J. Toedling
  • A. Szymansky
  • F. Hertwig
  • M. Fischer
  • D. Torrents
  • A. Eggert
  • J.H. Schulte
  • S. Mundlos
  • A.G. Henssen
  • R.P. Koche


  • Nature Communications


  • Nat Commun 11 (1): 5823


  • MYCN amplification drives one in six cases of neuroblastoma. The supernumerary gene copies are commonly found on highly rearranged, extrachromosomal circular DNA (ecDNA). The exact amplicon structure has not been described thus far and the functional relevance of its rearrangements is unknown. Here, we analyze the MYCN amplicon structure using short-read and Nanopore sequencing and its chromatin landscape using ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq and Hi-C. This reveals two distinct classes of amplicons which explain the regulatory requirements for MYCN overexpression. The first class always co-amplifies a proximal enhancer driven by the noradrenergic core regulatory circuit (CRC). The second class of MYCN amplicons is characterized by high structural complexity, lacks key local enhancers, and instead contains distal chromosomal fragments harboring CRC-driven enhancers. Thus, ectopic enhancer hijacking can compensate for the loss of local gene regulatory elements and explains a large component of the structural diversity observed in MYCN amplification.