A double hit implicates DIAPH3 as an autism risk gene

Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.5). 03/2010; 16(4):442-51. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2010.26
Source: PubMed


Recent studies have shown that more than 10% of autism cases are caused by de novo structural genomic rearrangements. Given that some heritable copy number variants (CNVs) have been observed in patients as well as in healthy controls, to date little attention has been paid to the potential function of these non-de novo CNVs in causing autism. A normally intelligent patient with autism, with non-affected parents, was identified with a maternally inherited 10 Mb deletion at 13q21.2. Sequencing of the genes within the deletion identified a paternally inherited nonsynonymous amino-acid substitution at position 614 of diaphanous homolog 3 (DIAPH3) (proline to threonine; Pro614Thr). This variant, present in a highly conserved domain, was not found in 328 healthy subjects. Experiments showed a transient expression of Diaph3 in the developing murine cerebral cortex, indicating it has a function in brain development. Transfection of Pro614Thr in murine fibroblasts showed a significant reduction in the number of induced filopodia in comparison to the wild-type gene. DIAPH3 is involved in cell migration, axon guidance and neuritogenesis, and is suggested to function downstream of SHANK3. Our findings strongly suggest DIAPH3 as a novel autism susceptibility gene. Moreover, this report of a 'double-hit' compound heterozygote for a large, maternally inherited, genomic deletion and a paternally inherited rare missense mutation shows that not only de novo genomic variants in patients should be taken seriously in further study but that inherited CNVs may also provide valuable information.

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Available from: Maretha V de Jonge, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "A first hypothesis to explain this phenotypic heterogeneity is that a secondary insult is necessary during development to result in the phenotype, as in the “twohit model” proposed in developmental delay.48 Several studies recently supported the existence of such a combination of rare variants in some cases.39,49,50 Another hypothesis is the contribution of both rare and frequent variants. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this review is to summarize the key findings from genetic and epidemiological research, which show that autism is a complex disorder resulting from the combination of genetic and environmental factors. Remarkable advances in the knowledge of genetic causes of autism have resulted from the great efforts made in the field of genetics. The identification of specific alleles contributing to the autism spectrum has supplied important pieces for the autism puzzle. However, many questions remain unanswered, and new questions are raised by recent results. Moreover, given the amount of evidence supporting a significant contribution of environmental factors to autism risk, it is now clear that the search for environmental factors should be reinforced. One aspect of this search that has been neglected so far is the study of interactions between genes and environmental factors.
    09/2012; 14(3):281-92.
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    • "A recent study has identified DIAPH3 as a new autism susceptibility gene by virtue of rare non-synonymous variants lying in trans with a deletion.41 The sharing of non-deleted paternal CDH8 haplotypes in the three affected siblings in family 3099 made us consider the possibility that this 1.64 Mb deletion was also unmasking rare variants in the remaining copy of CDH8. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by impairments in social communication and by a pattern of repetitive behaviours, with learning disability (LD) typically seen in up to 70% of cases. A recent study using the PPL statistical framework identified a novel region of genetic linkage on chromosome 16q21 that is limited to ASD families with LD. In this study, two families with autism and/or LD are described which harbour rare >1.6 Mb microdeletions located within this linkage region. The deletion breakpoints are mapped at base-pair resolution and segregation analysis is performed using a combination of 1M single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology, array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), long-range PCR, and Sanger sequencing. The frequency of similar genomic variants in control subjects is determined through analysis of published SNP array data. Expression of CDH8, the only gene disrupted by these microdeletions, is assessed using reverse transcriptase PCR and in situ hybridisation analysis of 9 week human embryos. The deletion of chr16: 60 025 584-61 667 839 was transmitted to three of three boys with autism and LD and none of four unaffected siblings, from their unaffected mother. In a second family, an overlapping deletion of chr16: 58 724 527-60 547 472 was transmitted to an individual with severe LD from his father with moderate LD. No copy number variations (CNVs) disrupting CDH8 were observed in 5023 controls. Expression analysis indicates that the two CDH8 isoforms are present in the developing human cortex. Rare familial 16q21 microdeletions and expression analysis implicate CDH8 in susceptibility to autism and LD.
    Journal of Medical Genetics 10/2010; 48(1):48-54. DOI:10.1136/jmg.2010.079426 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDS) are frequently occurring disorders diagnosed by deficits in three core functional areas: social skills, communication, and behaviours and/or interests. Mental retardation frequently accompanies the most severe forms of ASDs, while overall ASDs are more commonly diagnosed in males. Most ASDs have a genetic origin and one gene recently implicated in the etiology of autism is the Deleted-In-Autism-1 (DIA1) gene. Using a bioinformatics-based approach, we have identified a human gene closely related to DIA1, we term DIA1R (DIA1-Related). While DIA1 is autosomal (chromosome 3, position 3q24), DIA1R localizes to the X chromosome at position Xp11.3 and is known to escape X-inactivation. The gene products are of similar size, with DIA1 encoding 430, and DIA1R 433, residues. At the amino acid level, DIA1 and DIA1R are 62% similar overall (28% identical), and both encode signal peptides for targeting to the secretory pathway. Both genes are ubiquitously expressed, including in fetal and adult brain tissue. Examination of published literature revealed point mutations in DIA1R are associated with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) and DIA1R deletion is associated with syndromes with ASD-like traits and/or XLMR. Together, these results support a model where the DIA1 and DIA1R gene products regulate molecular traffic through the cellular secretory pathway or affect the function of secreted factors, and functional deficits cause disorders with ASD-like symptoms and/or mental retardation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e14534. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0014534 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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