Multiplex Targeted Sequencing Identifies Recurrently Mutated Genes in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
ABSTRACT Exome sequencing studies of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have identified many de novo mutations, but few recurrently disrupted genes. We therefore developed a modified molecular inversion probe method enabling ultra-low-cost candidate gene resequencing in very large cohorts. To demonstrate the power of this approach, we captured and sequenced 44 candidate genes in 2446 ASD probands. We discovered 27 de novo events in 16 genes, 59% of which are predicted to truncate proteins or disrupt splicing. We estimate that recurrent disruptive mutations in six genes-CHD8, DYRK1A, GRIN2B, TBR1, PTEN, and TBL1XR1-may contribute to 1% of sporadic ASDs. Our data support associations between specific genes and reciprocal subphenotypes (CHD8-macrocephaly, DYRK1A-microcephaly) and replicate the importance of a β-catenin/chromatin remodeling network to ASD etiology.
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ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects as many as 1 in 68 children and is said to be the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States. There is currently no medical cure or diagnostic test for ASD. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a single drug for the treatment of autism's core symptoms. Despite numerous genome studies and the identification of hundreds of genes that may cause or predispose children to ASD, the pathways underlying the pathogenesis of idiopathic ASD still remain elusive. Post-mortem brain samples, apart from being difficult to obtain, offer little insight into a disorder that arises through the course of development. Furthermore, ASD is a disorder of highly complex, human-specific behaviors, making it difficult to model in animals. Stem cell models of ASD can be generated by performing skin biopsies of ASD patients and then dedifferentiating these fibroblasts into human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). iPSCs closely resemble embryonic stem cells and retain the unique genetic signature of the ASD patient from whom they were originally derived. Differentiation of these iPSCs into neurons essentially recapitulates the ASD patient's neuronal development in a dish, allowing for a patient-specific model of ASD. Here we review our current understanding of the underlying neurobiology of ASD and how the use of stem cells can advance this understanding, possibly leading to new therapeutic avenues.The Yale journal of biology and medicine 03/2015; 88(1):5-16.
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies implicate chromatin modifiers in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the identification of recurrent de novo loss of function mutations in affected individuals. ASD risk genes are co-expressed in human midfetal cortex, suggesting that ASD risk genes converge in specific regulatory networks during neurodevelopment. To elucidate such networks, we identify genes targeted by CHD8, a chromodomain helicase strongly associated with ASD, in human midfetal brain, human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and embryonic mouse cortex. CHD8 targets are strongly enriched for other ASD risk genes in both human and mouse neurodevelopment, and converge in ASD-associated co-expression networks in human midfetal cortex. CHD8 knockdown in hNSCs results in dysregulation of ASD risk genes directly targeted by CHD8. Integration of CHD8-binding data into ASD risk models improves detection of risk genes. These results suggest loss of CHD8 contributes to ASD by perturbing an ancient gene regulatory network during human brain development.Nature Communications 03/2015; 6:6404. DOI:10.1038/ncomms7404 · 10.74 Impact Factor