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1.  Gene-ontology enrichment analysis in two independent family-based samples highlights biologically plausible processes for autism spectrum disorders 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2011;19(10):1082-1089.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have implicated a range of genes from discrete biological pathways in the aetiology of autism. However, despite the strong influence of genetic factors, association studies have yet to identify statistically robust, replicated major effect genes or SNPs. We apply the principle of the SNP ratio test methodology described by O'Dushlaine et al to over 2100 families from the Autism Genome Project (AGP). Using a two-stage design we examine association enrichment in 5955 unique gene-ontology classifications across four groupings based on two phenotypic and two ancestral classifications. Based on estimates from simulation we identify excess of association enrichment across all analyses. We observe enrichment in association for sets of genes involved in diverse biological processes, including pyruvate metabolism, transcription factor activation, cell-signalling and cell-cycle regulation. Both genes and processes that show enrichment have previously been examined in autistic disorders and offer biologically plausibility to these findings.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.75
PMCID: PMC3190264  PMID: 21522181
autism; genome-wide association analysis; pathway analysis; family-based association test; gene ontology
2.  Whole genome sequencing resource identifies 18 new candidate genes for autism spectrum disorder 
Yuen, Ryan KC | Merico, Daniele | Bookman, Matt | Howe, Jennifer L | Thiruvahindrapuram, Bhooma | Patel, Rohan V | Whitney, Joe | Deflaux, Nicole | Bingham, Jonathan | Wang, Zhuozhi | Pellecchia, Giovanna | Buchanan, Janet A | Walker, Susan | Marshall, Christian R | Uddin, Mohammed | Zarrei, Mehdi | Deneault, Eric | D’Abate, Lia | Chan, Ada JS | Koyanagi, Stephanie | Paton, Tara | Pereira, Sergio L | Hoang, Ny | Engchuan, Worrawat | Higginbotham, Edward J | Ho, Karen | Lamoureux, Sylvia | Li, Weili | MacDonald, Jeffrey R | Nalpathamkalam, Thomas | Sung, Wilson WL | Tsoi, Fiona J | Wei, John | Xu, Lizhen | Tasse, Anne-Marie | Kirby, Emily | Van Etten, William | Twigger, Simon | Roberts, Wendy | Drmic, Irene | Jilderda, Sanne | Modi, Bonnie MacKinnon | Kellam, Barbara | Szego, Michael | Cytrynbaum, Cheryl | Weksberg, Rosanna | Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie | Woodbury-Smith, Marc | Brian, Jessica | Senman, Lili | Iaboni, Alana | Doyle-Thomas, Krissy | Thompson, Ann | Chrysler, Christina | Leef, Jonathan | Savion-Lemieux, Tal | Smith, Isabel M | Liu, Xudong | Nicolson, Rob | Seifer, Vicki | Fedele, Angie | Cook, Edwin H | Dager, Stephen | Estes, Annette | Gallagher, Louise | Malow, Beth A | Parr, Jeremy R | Spence, Sarah J | Vorstman, Jacob | Frey, Brendan J | Robinson, James T | Strug, Lisa J | Fernandez, Bridget A | Elsabbagh, Mayada | Carter, Melissa T | Hallmayer, Joachim | Knoppers, Bartha M | Anagnostou, Evdokia | Szatmari, Peter | Ring, Robert H | Glazer, David | Pletcher, Mathew T | Scherer, Stephen W
Nature neuroscience  2017;20(4):602-611.
We are performing whole genome sequencing (WGS) of families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to build a resource, named MSSNG, to enable the sub-categorization of phenotypes and underlying genetic factors involved. Here, we report WGS of 5,205 samples from families with ASD, accompanied by clinical information, creating a database accessible in a cloud platform, and through an internet portal with controlled access. We found an average of 73.8 de novo single nucleotide variants and 12.6 de novo insertion/deletions (indels) or copy number variations (CNVs) per ASD subject. We identified 18 new candidate ASD-risk genes such as MED13 and PHF3, and found that participants bearing mutations in susceptibility genes had significantly lower adaptive ability (p=6×10−4). In 294/2,620 (11.2%) of ASD cases, a molecular basis could be determined and 7.2% of these carried CNV/chromosomal abnormalities, emphasizing the importance of detecting all forms of genetic variation as diagnostic and therapeutic targets in ASD.
doi:10.1038/nn.4524
PMCID: PMC5501701  PMID: 28263302 CAMSID: cams6544
3.  Proceedings of the 14th annual conference of INEBRIA 
Holloway, Aisha S. | Ferguson, Jennifer | Landale, Sarah | Cariola, Laura | Newbury-Birch, Dorothy | Flynn, Amy | Knight, John R. | Sherritt, Lon | Harris, Sion K. | O’Donnell, Amy J. | Kaner, Eileen | Hanratty, Barbara | Loree, Amy M. | Yonkers, Kimberly A. | Ondersma, Steven J. | Gilstead-Hayden, Kate | Martino, Steve | Adam, Angeline | Schwartz, Robert P. | Wu, Li-Tzy | Subramaniam, Geetha | Sharma, Gaurav | McNeely, Jennifer | Berman, Anne H. | Kolaas, Karoline | Petersén, Elisabeth | Bendtsen, Preben | Hedman, Erik | Linderoth, Catharina | Müssener, Ulrika | Sinadinovic, Kristina | Spak, Fredrik | Gremyr, Ida | Thurang, Anna | Mitchell, Ann M. | Finnell, Deborah | Savage, Christine L. | Mahmoud, Khadejah F. | Riordan, Benjamin C. | Conner, Tamlin S. | Flett, Jayde A. M. | Scarf, Damian | McRee, Bonnie | Vendetti, Janice | Gallucci, Karen Steinberg | Robaina, Kate | Clark, Brendan J. | Jones, Jacqueline | Reed, Kathryne D. | Hodapp, Rachel M. | Douglas, Ivor | Burnham, Ellen L. | Aagaard, Laura | Cook, Paul F. | Harris, Brett R. | Yu, Jiang | Wolff, Margaret | Rogers, Meighan | Barbosa, Carolina | Wedehase, Brendan J. | Dunlap, Laura J. | Mitchell, Shannon G. | Dusek, Kristi A. | Gryczynski, Jan | Kirk, Arethusa S. | Oros, Marla T. | Hosler, Colleen | O’Grady, Kevin E. | Brown, Barry S. | Angus, Colin | Sherborne, Sidney | Gillespie, Duncan | Meier, Petra | Brennan, Alan | de Vargas, Divane | Soares, Janaina | Castelblanco, Donna | Doran, Kelly M. | Wittman, Ian | Shelley, Donna | Rotrosen, John | Gelberg, Lillian | Edelman, E. Jennifer | Maisto, Stephen A. | Hansen, Nathan B. | Cutter, Christopher J. | Deng, Yanhong | Dziura, James | Fiellin, Lynn E. | O’Connor, Patrick G. | Bedimo, Roger | Gibert, Cynthia | Marconi, Vincent C. | Rimland, David | Rodriguez-Barradas, Maria C. | Simberkoff, Michael S. | Justice, Amy C. | Bryant, Kendall J. | Fiellin, David A. | Giles, Emma L. | Coulton, Simon | Deluca, Paolo | Drummond, Colin | Howel, Denise | McColl, Elaine | McGovern, Ruth | Scott, Stephanie | Stamp, Elaine | Sumnall, Harry | Vale, Luke | Alabani, Viviana | Atkinson, Amanda | Boniface, Sadie | Frankham, Jo | Gilvarry, Eilish | Hendrie, Nadine | Howe, Nicola | McGeechan, Grant J. | Ramsey, Amy | Stanley, Grant | Clephane, Justine | Gardiner, David | Holmes, John | Martin, Neil | Shevills, Colin | Soutar, Melanie | Chi, Felicia W. | Weisner, Constance | Ross, Thekla B. | Mertens, Jennifer | Sterling, Stacy A. | Shorter, Gillian W. | Heather, Nick | Bray, Jeremy | Cohen, Hildie A. | McPherson, Tracy L. | Adam, Cyrille | López-Pelayo, Hugo | Gual, Antoni | Segura-Garcia, Lidia | Colom, Joan | Ornelas, India J. | Doyle, Suzanne | Donovan, Dennis | Duran, Bonnie | Torres, Vanessa | Gaume, Jacques | Grazioli, Véronique | Fortini, Cristiana | Paroz, Sophie | Bertholet, Nicolas | Daeppen, Jean-Bernard | Satterfield, Jason M. | Gregorich, Steven | Alvarado, Nicholas J. | Muñoz, Ricardo | Kulieva, Gozel | Vijayaraghavan, Maya | Adam, Angéline | Cunningham, John A. | Díaz, Estela | Palacio-Vieira, Jorge | Godinho, Alexandra | Kushir, Vladyslav | O’Brien, Kimberly H. M. | Aguinaldo, Laika D. | Sellers, Christina M. | Spirito, Anthony | Chang, Grace | Blake-Lamb, Tiffany | LaFave, Lea R. Ayers | Thies, Kathleen M. | Pepin, Amy L. | Sprangers, Kara E. | Bradley, Martha | Jorgensen, Shasta | Catano, Nico A. | Murray, Adelaide R. | Schachter, Deborah | Andersen, Ronald M. | Rey, Guillermina Natera | Vahidi, Mani | Rico, Melvin W. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Johansson, Magnus | Sinadinovic, Christina | Hermansson, Ulric | Andreasson, Sven | O’Grady, Megan A. | Kapoor, Sandeep | Akkari, Cherine | Bernal, Camila | Pappacena, Kristen | Morley, Jeanne | Auerbach, Mark | Neighbors, Charles J. | Kwon, Nancy | Conigliaro, Joseph | Morgenstern, Jon | Magill, Molly | Apodaca, Timothy R. | Borsari, Brian | Hoadley, Ariel | Scott Tonigan, J. | Moyers, Theresa | Fitzgerald, Niamh M. | Schölin, Lisa | Barticevic, Nicolas | Zuzulich, Soledad | Poblete, Fernando | Norambuena, Pablo | Sacco, Paul | Ting, Laura | Beaulieu, Michele | Wallace, Paul George | Andrews, Matthew | Daley, Kate | Shenker, Don | Gallagher, Louise | Watson, Rod | Weaver, Tim | Bruguera, Pol | Oliveras, Clara | Gavotti, Carolina | Barrio, Pablo | Braddick, Fleur | Miquel, Laia | Suárez, Montse | Bruguera, Carla | Brown, Richard L. | Capell, Julie Whelan | Paul Moberg, D. | Maslowsky, Julie | Saunders, Laura A. | McCormack, Ryan P. | Scheidell, Joy | Gonzalez, Mirelis | Bauroth, Sabrina | Liu, Weiwei | Lindsay, Dawn L. | Lincoln, Piper | Hagle, Holly | Wallhed Finn, Sara | Hammarberg, Anders | Andréasson, Sven | King, Sarah E. | Vargo, Rachael | Kameg, Brayden N. | Acquavita, Shauna P. | Van Loon, Ruth Anne | Smith, Rachel | Brehm, Bonnie J. | Diers, Tiffiny | Kim, Karissa | Barker, Andrea | Jones, Ashley L. | Skinner, Asheley C. | Hinman, Agatha | Svikis, Dace S. | Thacker, Casey L. | Resnicow, Ken | Beatty, Jessica R. | Janisse, James | Puder, Karoline | Bakshi, Ann-Sofie | Milward, Joanna M. | Kimergard, Andreas | Garnett, Claire V. | Crane, David | Brown, Jamie | West, Robert | Michie, Susan | Rosendahl, Ingvar | Andersson, Claes | Gajecki, Mikael | Blankers, Matthijs | Donoghue, Kim | Lynch, Ellen | Maconochie, Ian | Phillips, Ceri | Pockett, Rhys | Phillips, Tom | Patton, R. | Russell, Ian | Strang, John | Stewart, Maureen T. | Quinn, Amity E. | Brolin, Mary | Evans, Brooke | Horgan, Constance M. | Liu, Junqing | McCree, Fern | Kanovsky, Doug | Oberlander, Tyler | Zhang, Huan | Hamlin, Ben | Saunders, Robert | Barton, Mary B. | Scholle, Sarah H. | Santora, Patricia | Bhatt, Chirag | Ahmed, Kazi | Hodgkin, Dominic | Gao, Wenwu | Merrick, Elizabeth L. | Drebing, Charles E. | Larson, Mary Jo | Sharma, Monica | Petry, Nancy M. | Saitz, Richard | Weisner, Constance M. | Young-Wolff, Kelly C. | Lu, Wendy Y. | Blosnich, John R. | Lehavot, Keren | Glass, Joseph E. | Williams, Emily C. | Bensley, Kara M. | Chan, Gary | Dombrowski, Julie | Fortney, John | Rubinsky, Anna D. | Lapham, Gwen T. | Forray, Ariadna | Olmstead, Todd A. | Gilstad-Hayden, Kathryn | Kershaw, Trace | Dillon, Pamela | Weaver, Michael F. | Grekin, Emily R. | Ellis, Jennifer D. | McGoron, Lucy | McGoron, Lucy
doi:10.1186/s13722-017-0087-8
PMCID: PMC5606215
4.  Bio-collections in autism research 
Molecular Autism  2017;8:34.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders with diverse clinical manifestations and symptoms. In the last 10 years, there have been significant advances in understanding the genetic basis for ASD, critically supported through the establishment of ASD bio-collections and application in research. Here, we summarise a selection of major ASD bio-collections and their associated findings. Collectively, these include mapping ASD candidate genes, assessing the nature and frequency of gene mutations and their association with ASD clinical subgroups, insights into related molecular pathways such as the synapses, chromatin remodelling, transcription and ASD-related brain regions. We also briefly review emerging studies on the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to potentially model ASD in culture. These provide deeper insight into ASD progression during development and could generate human cell models for drug screening. Finally, we provide perspectives concerning the utilities of ASD bio-collections and limitations, and highlight considerations in setting up a new bio-collection for ASD research.
doi:10.1186/s13229-017-0154-8
PMCID: PMC5504648  PMID: 28702161
5.  Vector-free intracellular delivery by reversible permeabilization 
PLoS ONE  2017;12(3):e0174779.
Despite advances in intracellular delivery technologies, efficient methods are still required that are vector-free, can address a wide range of cargo types and can be applied to cells that are difficult to transfect whilst maintaining cell viability. We have developed a novel vector-free method that uses reversible permeabilization to achieve rapid intracellular delivery of cargos with varying composition, properties and size. A permeabilizing delivery solution was developed that contains a low level of ethanol as the permeabilizing agent. Reversal of cell permeabilization is achieved by temporally and volumetrically controlling the contact of the target cells with this solution. Cells are seeded in conventional multi-well plates. Following removal of the supernatant, the cargo is mixed with the delivery solution and applied directly to the cells using an atomizer. After a short incubation period, permeabilization is halted by incubating the cells in a phosphate buffer saline solution that dilutes the ethanol and is non-toxic to the permeabilized cells. Normal culture medium is then added. The procedure lasts less than 5 min. With this method, proteins, mRNA, plasmid DNA and other molecules have been delivered to a variety of cell types, including primary cells, with low toxicity and cargo functionality has been confirmed in proof-of-principle studies. Co-delivery of different cargo types has also been demonstrated. Importantly, delivery occurs by diffusion directly into the cytoplasm in an endocytic-independent manner. Unlike some other vector-free methods, adherent cells are addressed in situ without the need for detachment from their substratum. The method has also been adapted to address suspension cells. This delivery method is gentle yet highly reproducible, compatible with high throughput and automated cell-based assays and has the potential to enable a broad range of research, drug discovery and clinical applications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0174779
PMCID: PMC5373627  PMID: 28358921
6.  Enhancing studies of the connectome in autism using the autism brain imaging data exchange II 
Scientific Data  2017;4:170010.
The second iteration of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE II) aims to enhance the scope of brain connectomics research in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Consistent with the initial ABIDE effort (ABIDE I), that released 1112 datasets in 2012, this new multisite open-data resource is an aggregate of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and corresponding structural MRI and phenotypic datasets. ABIDE II includes datasets from an additional 487 individuals with ASD and 557 controls previously collected across 16 international institutions. The combination of ABIDE I and ABIDE II provides investigators with 2156 unique cross-sectional datasets allowing selection of samples for discovery and/or replication. This sample size can also facilitate the identification of neurobiological subgroups, as well as preliminary examinations of sex differences in ASD. Additionally, ABIDE II includes a range of psychiatric variables to inform our understanding of the neural correlates of co-occurring psychopathology; 284 diffusion imaging datasets are also included. It is anticipated that these enhancements will contribute to unraveling key sources of ASD heterogeneity.
doi:10.1038/sdata.2017.10
PMCID: PMC5349246  PMID: 28291247
Neuroscience; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Autism spectrum disorders; Brain imaging
7.  Disrupted prediction errors index social deficits in autism spectrum disorder 
Brain  2016;140(1):235-246.
In healthy individuals the anterior cingulate gyrus signals social prediction errors: discrepancies between an actual outcome and the perceived expectations of another person. Balsters et al. demonstrate that this crucial social signal is altered in individuals with autism, and that variability in social prediction error signalling indexes social symptom severity.
Abstract
Social deficits are a core symptom of autism spectrum disorder; however, the perturbed neural mechanisms underpinning these deficits remain unclear. It has been suggested that social prediction errors—coding discrepancies between the predicted and actual outcome of another’s decisions—might play a crucial role in processing social information. While the gyral surface of the anterior cingulate cortex signalled social prediction errors in typically developing individuals, this crucial social signal was altered in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Importantly, the degree to which social prediction error signalling was aberrant correlated with diagnostic measures of social deficits. Effective connectivity analyses further revealed that, in typically developing individuals but not in autism spectrum disorder, the magnitude of social prediction errors was driven by input from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These data provide a novel insight into the neural substrates underlying autism spectrum disorder social symptom severity, and further research into the gyral surface of the anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex could provide more targeted therapies to help ameliorate social deficits in autism spectrum disorder.
doi:10.1093/brain/aww287
PMCID: PMC5379861  PMID: 28031223
autism spectrum disorder; social cognition; anterior cingulate cortex; social prediction errors
8.  Australian, Irish and Swedish women’s perceptions of what assisted them to breastfeed for six months: exploratory design using critical incident technique 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:1067.
Background
Breastfeeding initiation rates in some developed countries are high (98 % in Sweden and 96 % in Australia) whereas in others, they are not as favourable (46 % to 55 % in Ireland). Although the World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for six months, 15 % of Australian women, 11 % of Swedish women and less than 7 % of Irish women achieve this goal. Awareness of what women in different countries perceive as essential breastfeeding support is a gap in our knowledge.
Methods
Our aim was to explore Australian, Irish and Swedish women’s perceptions of what assisted them to continue breastfeeding for six months. An exploratory design using critical incident techniques was used. Recruitment occurred through advertisements in local newspapers and on social networking platforms. Initial sampling was purposive, followed by snowball sampling. Telephone interviews were conducted with 64 Irish, 139 Swedish and 153 Australian women who responded to one question “what has assisted you to continue breastfeeding for at least six months?” Content analysis was conducted and common categories determined to allow comparison of frequencies and priority ranking.
Results
Categories reflected the individual mother, her inner social network, her outer social network (informal support either face to face or online), and societal support (health professionals, work environment and breastfeeding being regarded as the cultural norm). Categories ranked in the top five across the three countries were ‘informal face to face support’ and ‘maternal determination’. Swedish and Australian women ranked “health professional support” higher (first and third respectively) than Irish women who ranked ‘informal online support’ as second compared to ninth and tenth for Swedish and Australian women.
Conclusions
The support required to assist breastfeeding women is complex and multi-faceted. Although common international categories were revealed, the ranking of these supportive categories varied. We must recognize how the cultural context of breastfeeding support can vary for women in differing countries and acknowledge the resourcefulness of women who embrace innovations such as social media where face to face formal and informal support are not as accessible.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3740-3
PMCID: PMC5057437  PMID: 27724932
Breastfeeding; Prevalence; International; Social support; Professional support; Self-efficacy
9.  Association between home birth and breast feeding outcomes: a cross-sectional study in 28 125 mother–infant pairs from Ireland and the UK 
BMJ Open  2016;6(8):e010551.
Objectives
To examine the association between breast feeding outcomes and place of birth (home vs hospital birth).
Design
Population-based cross-sectional study.
Setting
Ireland and UK.
Participants
10 604 mother–infant pairs from the Growing Up in Ireland study (GUI, 2008–2009) and 17 521 pairs from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (UKMCS, 2001–2002) at low risk of delivery complications were included in the study.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Breast feeding initiation, exclusivity and duration.
Results
Home birth was found to be significantly associated with breast feeding at all examined time points, including at birth, 8 weeks, 6 months and breast feeding exclusively at 6 months. In GUI, adjusted OR was 1.90 (95% CI 1.19 to 3.02), 1.78 (1.18 to 2.69), 1.85 (1.23 to 2.77) and 2.77 (1.78 to 4.33), respectively, and in UKMCS it was 2.49 (1.84 to 3.44), 2.49 (1.92 to 3.26), 2.90 (2.25 to 3.73) and 2.24 (1.14 to 4.03).
Conclusions
Home birth was strongly associated with improved breast feeding outcomes in low-risk deliveries. While the association between home birth and breast feeding is unlikely to be directly causal, further research is needed to determine which factor(s) drive the observed differences, to facilitate development of perinatal care that supports breast feeding.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010551
PMCID: PMC4985866  PMID: 27503858
breast feeding; home birth; developed countries; delivery; UK
10.  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Fragile X Syndrome (FXS): Two Overlapping Disorders Reviewed through Electroencephalography—What Can be Interpreted from the Available Information? 
Brain Sciences  2015;5(2):92-117.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Fragile X syndrome (FXS) are neurodevelopmental disorders with different but potentially related neurobiological underpinnings, which exhibit significant overlap in their behavioural symptoms. FXS is a neurogenetic disorder of known cause whereas ASD is a complex genetic disorder, with both rare and common genetic risk factors and likely genetic and environmental interaction effects. A comparison of the phenotypic presentation of the two disorders may highlight those symptoms that are more likely to be under direct genetic control, for example in FXS as opposed to shared symptoms that are likely to be under the control of multiple mechanisms. This review is focused on the application and analysis of electroencephalography data (EEG) in ASD and FXS. Specifically, Event Related Potentials (ERP) and resting state studies (rEEG) studies investigating ASD and FXS cohorts are compared. This review explores the electrophysiological similarities and differences between the two disorders in addition to the potentially associated neurobiological mechanisms at play. A series of pertinent research questions which are suggested in the literature are also posed within the review.
doi:10.3390/brainsci5020092
PMCID: PMC4493458  PMID: 25826237
autism spectrum disorders; Fragile X Syndrome; electroencephalography; Event Related Potentials; resting state EEG
11.  Synaptic, transcriptional, and chromatin genes disrupted in autism 
De Rubeis, Silvia | He, Xin | Goldberg, Arthur P. | Poultney, Christopher S. | Samocha, Kaitlin | Cicek, A Ercument | Kou, Yan | Liu, Li | Fromer, Menachem | Walker, Susan | Singh, Tarjinder | Klei, Lambertus | Kosmicki, Jack | Fu, Shih-Chen | Aleksic, Branko | Biscaldi, Monica | Bolton, Patrick F. | Brownfeld, Jessica M. | Cai, Jinlu | Campbell, Nicholas J. | Carracedo, Angel | Chahrour, Maria H. | Chiocchetti, Andreas G. | Coon, Hilary | Crawford, Emily L. | Crooks, Lucy | Curran, Sarah R. | Dawson, Geraldine | Duketis, Eftichia | Fernandez, Bridget A. | Gallagher, Louise | Geller, Evan | Guter, Stephen J. | Hill, R. Sean | Ionita-Laza, Iuliana | Gonzalez, Patricia Jimenez | Kilpinen, Helena | Klauck, Sabine M. | Kolevzon, Alexander | Lee, Irene | Lei, Jing | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Ma'ayan, Avi | Marshall, Christian R. | McInnes, Alison L. | Neale, Benjamin | Owen, Michael J. | Ozaki, Norio | Parellada, Mara | Parr, Jeremy R. | Purcell, Shaun | Puura, Kaija | Rajagopalan, Deepthi | Rehnström, Karola | Reichenberg, Abraham | Sabo, Aniko | Sachse, Michael | Sanders, Stephan J. | Schafer, Chad | Schulte-Rüther, Martin | Skuse, David | Stevens, Christine | Szatmari, Peter | Tammimies, Kristiina | Valladares, Otto | Voran, Annette | Wang, Li-San | Weiss, Lauren A. | Willsey, A. Jeremy | Yu, Timothy W. | Yuen, Ryan K.C. | Cook, Edwin H. | Freitag, Christine M. | Gill, Michael | Hultman, Christina M. | Lehner, Thomas | Palotie, Aarno | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Sklar, Pamela | State, Matthew W. | Sutcliffe, James S. | Walsh, Christopher A. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Zwick, Michael E. | Barrett, Jeffrey C. | Cutler, David J. | Roeder, Kathryn | Devlin, Bernie | Daly, Mark J. | Buxbaum, Joseph D.
Nature  2014;515(7526):209-215.
Summary
The genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorder involves the interplay of common and rare variation and their impact on hundreds of genes. Using exome sequencing, analysis of rare coding variation in 3,871 autism cases and 9,937 ancestry-matched or parental controls implicates 22 autosomal genes at a false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05, and a set of 107 autosomal genes strongly enriched for those likely to affect risk (FDR < 0.30). These 107 genes, which show unusual evolutionary constraint against mutations, incur de novo loss-of-function mutations in over 5% of autistic subjects. Many of the genes implicated encode proteins for synaptic, transcriptional, and chromatin remodeling pathways. These include voltage-gated ion channels regulating propagation of action potentials, pacemaking, and excitability-transcription coupling, as well as histone-modifying enzymes and chromatin remodelers, prominently histone post-translational modifications involving lysine methylation/demethylation.
doi:10.1038/nature13772
PMCID: PMC4402723  PMID: 25363760
12.  Gait Deviations in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review 
Autism Research and Treatment  2015;2015:741480.
In recent years, it has become clear that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have difficulty with gross motor function and coordination, factors which influence gait. Knowledge of gait abnormalities may be useful for assessment and treatment planning. This paper reviews the literature assessing gait deviations in children with ASD. Five online databases were searched using keywords “gait” and “autism,” and 11 studies were found which examined gait in childhood ASD. Children with ASD tend to augment their walking stability with a reduced stride length, increased step width and therefore wider base of support, and increased time in the stance phase. Children with ASD have reduced range of motion at the ankle and knee during gait, with increased hip flexion. Decreased peak hip flexor and ankle plantar flexor moments in children with ASD may imply weakness around these joints, which is further exhibited by a reduction in ground reaction forces at toe-off in children with ASD. Children with ASD have altered gait patterns to healthy controls, widened base of support, and reduced range of motion. Several studies refer to cerebellar and basal ganglia involvement as the patterns described suggest alterations in those areas of the brain. Further research should compare children with ASD to other clinical groups to improve assessment and treatment planning.
doi:10.1155/2015/741480
PMCID: PMC4398922  PMID: 25922766
13.  The Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange: Towards Large-Scale Evaluation of the Intrinsic Brain Architecture in Autism 
Molecular psychiatry  2013;19(6):659-667.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represent a formidable challenge for psychiatry and neuroscience because of their high prevalence, life-long nature, complexity and substantial heterogeneity. Facing these obstacles requires large-scale multidisciplinary efforts. While the field of genetics has pioneered data sharing for these reasons, neuroimaging had not kept pace. In response, we introduce the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) – a grassroots consortium aggregating and openly sharing 1112 existing resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI) datasets with corresponding structural MRI and phenotypic information from 539 individuals with ASD and 573 age-matched typical controls (TC; 7–64 years) (http://fcon_1000.projects.nitrc.org/indi/abide/). Here, we present this resource and demonstrate its suitability for advancing knowledge of ASD neurobiology based on analyses of 360 males with ASD and 403 male age-matched TC. We focused on whole-brain intrinsic functional connectivity and also survey a range of voxel-wise measures of intrinsic functional brain architecture. Whole-brain analyses reconciled seemingly disparate themes of both hypo and hyperconnectivity in the ASD literature; both were detected, though hypoconnectivity dominated, particularly for cortico-cortical and interhemispheric functional connectivity. Exploratory analyses using an array of regional metrics of intrinsic brain function converged on common loci of dysfunction in ASD (mid and posterior insula, posterior cingulate cortex), and highlighted less commonly explored regions such as thalamus. The survey of the ABIDE R-fMRI datasets provides unprecedented demonstrations of both replication and novel discovery. By pooling multiple international datasets, ABIDE is expected to accelerate the pace of discovery setting the stage for the next generation of ASD studies.
doi:10.1038/mp.2013.78
PMCID: PMC4162310  PMID: 23774715
Resting state fMRI; Intrinsic functional connectivity; Data sharing; Large-scale networks; Default network; Interhemispheric connectivity; Thalamus
14.  The Autism Simplex Collection: an international, expertly phenotyped autism sample for genetic and phenotypic analyses 
Molecular Autism  2014;5:34.
Background
There is an urgent need for expanding and enhancing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples, in order to better understand causes of ASD.
Methods
In a unique public-private partnership, 13 sites with extensive experience in both the assessment and diagnosis of ASD embarked on an ambitious, 2-year program to collect samples for genetic and phenotypic research and begin analyses on these samples. The program was called The Autism Simplex Collection (TASC). TASC sample collection began in 2008 and was completed in 2010, and included nine sites from North America and four sites from Western Europe, as well as a centralized Data Coordinating Center.
Results
Over 1,700 trios are part of this collection, with DNA from transformed cells now available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) measures are available for all probands, as are standardized IQ measures, Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), and physical measures (height, weight, and head circumference). At almost every site, additional phenotypic measures were collected, including the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) and Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), as well as the non-word repetition scale, Communication Checklist (Children’s or Adult), and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). Moreover, for nearly 1,000 trios, the Autism Genome Project Consortium (AGP) has carried out Illumina 1 M SNP genotyping and called copy number variation (CNV) in the samples, with data being made available through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whole exome sequencing (WES) has been carried out in over 500 probands, together with ancestry matched controls, and this data is also available through the NIH. Additional WES is being carried out by the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), where the focus is on sequencing complete trios. ASC sequencing for the first 1,000 samples (all from whole-blood DNA) is complete and data will be released in 2014. Data is being made available through NIH databases (database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) and National Database for Autism Research (NDAR)) with DNA released in Dist 11.0. Primary funding for the collection, genotyping, sequencing and distribution of TASC samples was provided by Autism Speaks and the NIH, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Human Genetics Research Institute (NHGRI).
Conclusions
TASC represents an important sample set that leverages expert sites. Similar approaches, leveraging expert sites and ongoing studies, represent an important path towards further enhancing available ASD samples.
doi:10.1186/2040-2392-5-34
PMCID: PMC4228819  PMID: 25392729
15.  Functional and structural connectivity of frontostriatal circuitry in Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Abnormalities in frontostriatal circuitry potentially underlie the two core deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); social interaction and communication difficulties and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Whilst a few studies have examined connectivity within this circuitry in ASD, no previous study has examined both functional and structural connectivity within the same population. The present study provides the first exploration of both functional and structural frontostriatal connectivity in ASD. Twenty-eight right-handed Caucasian male ASD (17.28 ± 3.57 years) and 27 right-handed male, age and IQ matched controls (17.15 ± 3.64 years) took part in the study. Resting state functional connectivity was carried out on 21 ASD and control participants, and tractography was carried out on 22 ASD and 24 control participants, after excluding subjects for excessive motion and poor data quality. Functional connectivity analysis was carried out between the frontal cortex and striatum after which tractography was performed between regions that showed significant group differences in functional connectivity. The ASD group showed increased functional connectivity between regions in the frontal cortex [anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), middle frontal gyrus (MFG), paracingulate gyrus (Pcg) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)], and striatum [nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and caudate]. Increased functional connectivity between ACC and caudate was associated with deactivation to social rewards in the caudate, as previously reported in the same participants. Greater connectivity between the right MFG and caudate was associated with higher restricted interests and repetitive behaviors and connectivity between the bilateral Pcg and NAcc, and the right OFC and NAcc, was negatively associated with social and communicative deficits. Although tracts were reliably constructed for each subject, there were no group differences in structural connectivity. Results are in keeping with previously reported increased corticostriatal functional connectivity in ASD.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00430
PMCID: PMC3734372  PMID: 23964221
Autism Spectrum Disorder; connectivity; frontostriatal; striatum; fMRI; DTI; social reward
16.  Abnormal functional connectivity during visuospatial processing is associated with disrupted organisation of white matter in autism 
Disruption of structural and functional neural connectivity has been widely reported in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but there is a striking lack of research attempting to integrate analysis of functional and structural connectivity in the same study population, an approach that may provide key insights into the specific neurobiological underpinnings of altered functional connectivity in autism. The aims of this study were (1) to determine whether functional connectivity abnormalities were associated with structural abnormalities of white matter (WM) in ASD and (2) to examine the relationships between aberrant neural connectivity and behavior in ASD. Twenty-two individuals with ASD and 22 age, IQ-matched controls completed a high-angular-resolution diffusion MRI scan. Structural connectivity was analysed using constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD) based tractography. Regions for tractography were generated from the results of a previous study, in which 10 pairs of brain regions showed abnormal functional connectivity during visuospatial processing in ASD. WM tracts directly connected 5 of the 10 region pairs that showed abnormal functional connectivity; linking a region in the left occipital lobe (left BA19) and five paired regions: left caudate head, left caudate body, left uncus, left thalamus, and left cuneus. Measures of WM microstructural organization were extracted from these tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA) reductions in the ASD group relative to controls were significant for WM connecting left BA19 to left caudate head and left BA19 to left thalamus. Using a multimodal imaging approach, this study has revealed aberrant WM microstructure in tracts that directly connect brain regions that are abnormally functionally connected in ASD. These results provide novel evidence to suggest that structural brain pathology may contribute (1) to abnormal functional connectivity and (2) to atypical visuospatial processing in ASD.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00434
PMCID: PMC3783945  PMID: 24133425
neuroimaging; autism spectrum disorders; functional connectivity; diffusion tractography; constrained spherical deconvolution; visuospatial processing; structural connectivity; mental rotation
17.  CNVs leading to fusion transcripts in individuals with autism spectrum disorder 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(11):1141-1147.
There is strong evidence that rare copy number variants (CNVs) have a role in susceptibility to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Much research has focused on how CNVs mediate a phenotypic effect by altering gene expression levels. We investigated an alternative mechanism whereby CNVs combine the 5′ and 3′ ends of two genes, creating a ‘fusion gene'. Any resulting mRNA with an open reading frame could potentially alter the phenotype via a gain-of-function mechanism. We examined 2382 and 3096 rare CNVs from 996 individuals with ASD and 1287 controls, respectively, for potential to generate fusion transcripts. There was no increased burden in individuals with ASD; 122/996 cases harbored at least one rare CNV of this type, compared with 179/1287 controls (P=0.89). There was also no difference in the overall frequency distribution between cases and controls. We examined specific examples of such CNVs nominated by case–control analysis and a candidate approach. Accordingly, a duplication involving REEP1-POLR1A (found in 3/996 cases and 0/1287 controls) and a single occurrence CNV involving KIAA0319-TDP2 were tested. However, no fusion transcripts were detected by RT-PCR. Analysis of additional samples based on cell line availability resulted in validation of a MAPKAPK5-ACAD10 fusion transcript in two probands. However, this variant was present in controls at a similar rate and is unlikely to influence ASD susceptibility. In summary, although we find no evidence that fusion-gene generating CNVs lead to ASD susceptibility, discovery of a MAPKAPK5-ACAD10 transcript with an estimated frequency of ∼1/200 suggests that gain-of-function mechanisms should be considered in future CNVs studies.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.73
PMCID: PMC3476715  PMID: 22549408
CNV; MAPKAPK5; ACAD10; ALDH2; KIAA0319; dyslexia
18.  Social and monetary reward processing in autism spectrum disorders 
Molecular Autism  2012;3:7.
Background
Social motivation theory suggests that deficits in social reward processing underlie social impairments in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, the extent to which abnormalities in reward processing generalize to other classes of stimuli remains unresolved. The aim of the current study was to examine if reward processing abnormalities in ASD are specific to social stimuli or can be generalized to other classes of reward. Additionally, we sought to examine the results in the light of behavioral impairments in ASD.
Methods
Participants performed adapted versions of the social and monetary incentive delay tasks. Data from 21 unmedicated right-handed male participants with ASD and 21 age- and IQ-matched controls were analyzed using a factorial design to examine the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) response during the anticipation and receipt of both reward types.
Results
Behaviorally, the ASD group showed less of a reduction in reaction time (RT) for rewarded compared to unrewarded trials than the control group. In terms of the fMRI results, there were no significant group differences in reward circuitry during reward anticipation. During the receipt of rewards, there was a significant interaction between group and reward type in the left dorsal striatum (DS). The ASD group showed reduced activity in the DS compared to controls for social rewards but not monetary rewards and decreased activation for social rewards compared to monetary rewards. Controls showed no significant difference between the two reward types. Increased activation in the DS during social reward processing was associated with faster response times for rewarded trials, compared to unrewarded trials, in both groups. This is in line with behavioral results indicating that the ASD group showed less of a reduction in RT for rewarded compared to unrewarded trials. Additionally, de-activation to social rewards was associated with increased repetitive behavior in ASD.
Conclusions
In line with social motivation theory, the ASD group showed reduced activation, compared to controls, during the receipt of social rewards in the DS. Groups did not differ significantly during the processing of monetary rewards. BOLD activation in the DS, during social reward processing, was associated with behavioral impairments in ASD.
doi:10.1186/2040-2392-3-7
PMCID: PMC3499449  PMID: 23014171
Autism; Reward; Social motivation; Striatum; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI
19.  Mental Health Problems in Children with Prader-Willi Syndrome 
Background:
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetically determined neurodevelopmental disorder, which occurs in approximately one in 22000 births.
Aims:
This study aimed to investigate psychiatric characteristics of children diagnosed with PWS compared with an age-, gender- and IQ-matched control group. The parents of children with PWS were assessed for psychological distress in comparison to the parents of the control group. Methodological limitations identified in previous studies were addressed in the present study.
Methods:
Psychiatric problems were evaluated in a sample of children with genetically confirmed PWS and an age- and IQ-matched control group using the Child Behaviour Checklist 6–18. Parental psychological distress for both groups was evaluated with the Brief Symptom Inventory.
Results:
Children with PWS had more severe somatic, social, and thought problems, and were more withdrawn-depressed in comparison to controls. Borderline difficulties were detected for the affective, somatic, and attention deficit-hyperactivity CBCL DSM-orientated subscales in the PWS group. Parents of PWS children, in comparison to controls, had more somatization, phobic anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and anxiety problems.
Conclusions:
PWS represents a complex psychological disorder with multiple areas of disturbances.
PMCID: PMC3413469  PMID: 22876265
Prader-Willi Syndrome; comorbidity; depression; anxiety disorders; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; syndrome Prader-Willi; comorbidité; dépression; troubles anxieux; déficit d’attention avec hyperactivité
20.  Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders 
Anney, Richard | Klei, Lambertus | Pinto, Dalila | Almeida, Joana | Bacchelli, Elena | Baird, Gillian | Bolshakova, Nadia | Bölte, Sven | Bolton, Patrick F. | Bourgeron, Thomas | Brennan, Sean | Brian, Jessica | Casey, Jillian | Conroy, Judith | Correia, Catarina | Corsello, Christina | Crawford, Emily L. | de Jonge, Maretha | Delorme, Richard | Duketis, Eftichia | Duque, Frederico | Estes, Annette | Farrar, Penny | Fernandez, Bridget A. | Folstein, Susan E. | Fombonne, Eric | Gilbert, John | Gillberg, Christopher | Glessner, Joseph T. | Green, Andrew | Green, Jonathan | Guter, Stephen J. | Heron, Elizabeth A. | Holt, Richard | Howe, Jennifer L. | Hughes, Gillian | Hus, Vanessa | Igliozzi, Roberta | Jacob, Suma | Kenny, Graham P. | Kim, Cecilia | Kolevzon, Alexander | Kustanovich, Vlad | Lajonchere, Clara M. | Lamb, Janine A. | Law-Smith, Miriam | Leboyer, Marion | Le Couteur, Ann | Leventhal, Bennett L. | Liu, Xiao-Qing | Lombard, Frances | Lord, Catherine | Lotspeich, Linda | Lund, Sabata C. | Magalhaes, Tiago R. | Mantoulan, Carine | McDougle, Christopher J. | Melhem, Nadine M. | Merikangas, Alison | Minshew, Nancy J. | Mirza, Ghazala K. | Munson, Jeff | Noakes, Carolyn | Nygren, Gudrun | Papanikolaou, Katerina | Pagnamenta, Alistair T. | Parrini, Barbara | Paton, Tara | Pickles, Andrew | Posey, David J. | Poustka, Fritz | Ragoussis, Jiannis | Regan, Regina | Roberts, Wendy | Roeder, Kathryn | Roge, Bernadette | Rutter, Michael L. | Schlitt, Sabine | Shah, Naisha | Sheffield, Val C. | Soorya, Latha | Sousa, Inês | Stoppioni, Vera | Sykes, Nuala | Tancredi, Raffaella | Thompson, Ann P. | Thomson, Susanne | Tryfon, Ana | Tsiantis, John | Van Engeland, Herman | Vincent, John B. | Volkmar, Fred | Vorstman, JAS | Wallace, Simon | Wing, Kirsty | Wittemeyer, Kerstin | Wood, Shawn | Zurawiecki, Danielle | Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie | Bailey, Anthony J. | Battaglia, Agatino | Cantor, Rita M. | Coon, Hilary | Cuccaro, Michael L. | Dawson, Geraldine | Ennis, Sean | Freitag, Christine M. | Geschwind, Daniel H. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Klauck, Sabine M. | McMahon, William M. | Maestrini, Elena | Miller, Judith | Monaco, Anthony P. | Nelson, Stanley F. | Nurnberger, John I. | Oliveira, Guiomar | Parr, Jeremy R. | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Piven, Joseph | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Vicente, Astrid M. | Wassink, Thomas H. | Wijsman, Ellen M. | Betancur, Catalina | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Cook, Edwin H. | Gallagher, Louise | Gill, Michael | Hallmayer, Joachim | Paterson, Andrew D. | Sutcliffe, James S. | Szatmari, Peter | Vieland, Veronica J. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Devlin, Bernie
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(21):4781-4792.
While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds301
PMCID: PMC3471395  PMID: 22843504
22.  A novel approach of homozygous haplotype sharing identifies candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder 
Casey, Jillian P. | Magalhaes, Tiago | Conroy, Judith M. | Regan, Regina | Shah, Naisha | Anney, Richard | Shields, Denis C. | Abrahams, Brett S. | Almeida, Joana | Bacchelli, Elena | Bailey, Anthony J. | Baird, Gillian | Battaglia, Agatino | Berney, Tom | Bolshakova, Nadia | Bolton, Patrick F. | Bourgeron, Thomas | Brennan, Sean | Cali, Phil | Correia, Catarina | Corsello, Christina | Coutanche, Marc | Dawson, Geraldine | de Jonge, Maretha | Delorme, Richard | Duketis, Eftichia | Duque, Frederico | Estes, Annette | Farrar, Penny | Fernandez, Bridget A. | Folstein, Susan E. | Foley, Suzanne | Fombonne, Eric | Freitag, Christine M. | Gilbert, John | Gillberg, Christopher | Glessner, Joseph T. | Green, Jonathan | Guter, Stephen J. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Holt, Richard | Hughes, Gillian | Hus, Vanessa | Igliozzi, Roberta | Kim, Cecilia | Klauck, Sabine M. | Kolevzon, Alexander | Lamb, Janine A. | Leboyer, Marion | Le Couteur, Ann | Leventhal, Bennett L. | Lord, Catherine | Lund, Sabata C. | Maestrini, Elena | Mantoulan, Carine | Marshall, Christian R. | McConachie, Helen | McDougle, Christopher J. | McGrath, Jane | McMahon, William M. | Merikangas, Alison | Miller, Judith | Minopoli, Fiorella | Mirza, Ghazala K. | Munson, Jeff | Nelson, Stanley F. | Nygren, Gudrun | Oliveira, Guiomar | Pagnamenta, Alistair T. | Papanikolaou, Katerina | Parr, Jeremy R. | Parrini, Barbara | Pickles, Andrew | Pinto, Dalila | Piven, Joseph | Posey, David J. | Poustka, Annemarie | Poustka, Fritz | Ragoussis, Jiannis | Roge, Bernadette | Rutter, Michael L. | Sequeira, Ana F. | Soorya, Latha | Sousa, Inês | Sykes, Nuala | Stoppioni, Vera | Tancredi, Raffaella | Tauber, Maïté | Thompson, Ann P. | Thomson, Susanne | Tsiantis, John | Van Engeland, Herman | Vincent, John B. | Volkmar, Fred | Vorstman, Jacob A. S. | Wallace, Simon | Wang, Kai | Wassink, Thomas H. | White, Kathy | Wing, Kirsty | Wittemeyer, Kerstin | Yaspan, Brian L. | Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie | Betancur, Catalina | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Cantor, Rita M. | Cook, Edwin H. | Coon, Hilary | Cuccaro, Michael L. | Geschwind, Daniel H. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Hallmayer, Joachim | Monaco, Anthony P. | Nurnberger, John I. | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Sutcliffe, James S. | Szatmari, Peter | Vieland, Veronica J. | Wijsman, Ellen M. | Green, Andrew | Gill, Michael | Gallagher, Louise | Vicente, Astrid | Ennis, Sean
Human Genetics  2011;131(4):565-579.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (~90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1094-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1094-6
PMCID: PMC3303079  PMID: 21996756
23.  Functionality of promoter microsatellites of arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A): implications for autism 
Molecular Autism  2011;2:3.
Background
Arginine vasopressin (AVP) has been hypothesized to play a role in aetiology of autism based on a demonstrated involvement in the regulation of social behaviours. The arginine vasopressin receptor 1A gene (AVPR1A) is widely expressed in the brain and is considered to be a key receptor for regulation of social behaviour. Moreover, genetic variation at AVPR1A has been reported to be associated with autism. Evidence from non-human mammals implicates variation in the 5'-flanking region of AVPR1A in variable gene expression and social behaviour.
Methods
We examined four tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs3803107, rs1042615, rs3741865, rs11174815) and three microsatellites (RS3, RS1 and AVR) at the AVPR1A gene for association in an autism cohort from Ireland. Two 5'-flanking region polymorphisms in the human AVPR1A, RS3 and RS1, were also tested for their effect on relative promoter activity.
Results
The short alleles of RS1 and the SNP rs11174815 show weak association with autism in the Irish population (P = 0.036 and P = 0.008, respectively). Both RS1 and RS3 showed differences in relative promoter activity by length. Shorter repeat alleles of RS1 and RS3 decreased relative promoter activity in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y.
Conclusions
These aligning results can be interpreted as a functional route for this association, namely that shorter alleles of RS1 lead to decreased AVPR1A transcription, which may proffer increased susceptibility to the autism phenotype.
doi:10.1186/2040-2392-2-3
PMCID: PMC3080300  PMID: 21453499
24.  Functional Impact of Global Rare Copy Number Variation in Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Pinto, Dalila | Pagnamenta, Alistair T. | Klei, Lambertus | Anney, Richard | Merico, Daniele | Regan, Regina | Conroy, Judith | Magalhaes, Tiago R. | Correia, Catarina | Abrahams, Brett S. | Almeida, Joana | Bacchelli, Elena | Bader, Gary D. | Bailey, Anthony J. | Baird, Gillian | Battaglia, Agatino | Berney, Tom | Bolshakova, Nadia | Bölte, Sven | Bolton, Patrick F. | Bourgeron, Thomas | Brennan, Sean | Brian, Jessica | Bryson, Susan E. | Carson, Andrew R. | Casallo, Guillermo | Casey, Jillian | Cochrane, Lynne | Corsello, Christina | Crawford, Emily L. | Crossett, Andrew | Dawson, Geraldine | de Jonge, Maretha | Delorme, Richard | Drmic, Irene | Duketis, Eftichia | Duque, Frederico | Estes, Annette | Farrar, Penny | Fernandez, Bridget A. | Filipa, Ana | Folstein, Susan E. | Fombonne, Eric | Freitag, Christine M. | Gilbert, John | Gillberg, Christopher | Glessner, Joseph T. | Goldberg, Jeremy | Green, Andrew | Green, Jonathan | Guter, Stephen J. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Heron, Elizabeth A. | Hill, Matthew | Holt, Richard | Howe, Jennifer L. | Hughes, Gillian | Hus, Vanessa | Igliozzi, Roberta | Kim, Cecilia | Klauck, Sabine M. | Kolevzon, Alexander | Korvatska, Olena | Kustanovich, Vlad | Lajonchere, Clara M. | Lamb, Janine A. | Laskawiec, Magdalena | Leboyer, Marion | Le Couteur, Ann | Leventhal, Bennett L. | Lionel, Anath C. | Liu, Xiao-Qing | Lord, Catherine | Lotspeich, Linda | Lund, Sabata C. | Maestrini, Elena | Mahoney, William | Mantoulan, Carine | Marshall, Christian R. | McConachie, Helen | McDougle, Christopher J. | McGrath, Jane | McMahon, William M. | Merikangas, Alison | Migita, Ohsuke | Minshew, Nancy J. | Mirza, Ghazala K. | Munson, Jeff | Nelson, Stanley F. | Noakes, Carolyn | Noor, Abdul | Nygren, Gudrun | Oliveira, Guiomar | Papanikolaou, Katerina | Parr, Jeremy R. | Parrini, Barbara | Paton, Tara | Pickles, Andrew | Pilorge, Marion | Piven, Joseph | Ponting, Chris P. | Posey, David J. | Poustka, Annemarie | Poustka, Fritz | Prasad, Aparna | Ragoussis, Jiannis | Renshaw, Katy | Rickaby, Jessica | Roberts, Wendy | Roeder, Kathryn | Roge, Bernadette | Rutter, Michael L. | Bierut, Laura J. | Rice, John P. | Consortium, SAGE | Salt, Jeff | Sansom, Katherine | Sato, Daisuke | Segurado, Ricardo | Senman, Lili | Shah, Naisha | Sheffield, Val C. | Soorya, Latha | Sousa, Inês | Stein, Olaf | Stoppioni, Vera | Strawbridge, Christina | Tancredi, Raffaella | Tansey, Katherine | Thiruvahindrapduram, Bhooma | Thompson, Ann P. | Thomson, Susanne | Tryfon, Ana | Tsiantis, John | Van Engeland, Herman | Vincent, John B. | Volkmar, Fred | Wallace, Simon | Wang, Kai | Wang, Zhouzhi | Wassink, Thomas H. | Webber, Caleb | Wing, Kirsty | Wittemeyer, Kerstin | Wood, Shawn | Wu, Jing | Yaspan, Brian L. | Zurawiecki, Danielle | Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Cantor, Rita M. | Cook, Edwin H. | Coon, Hilary | Cuccaro, Michael L. | Devlin, Bernie | Ennis, Sean | Gallagher, Louise | Geschwind, Daniel H. | Gill, Michael | Haines, Jonathan L. | Hallmayer, Joachim | Miller, Judith | Monaco, Anthony P. | Nurnberger, John I. | Paterson, Andrew D. | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Szatmari, Peter | Vicente, Astrid M. | Vieland, Veronica J. | Wijsman, Ellen M. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Sutcliffe, James S. | Betancur, Catalina
Nature  2010;466(7304):368-372.
The autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of conditions characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors1. Individuals with an ASD vary greatly in cognitive development, which can range from above average to intellectual disability (ID)2. While ASDs are known to be highly heritable (~90%)3, the underlying genetic determinants are still largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the genome-wide characteristics of rare (<1% frequency) copy number variation (CNV) in ASD using dense genotyping arrays. When comparing 996 ASD individuals of European ancestry to 1,287 matched controls, cases were found to carry a higher global burden of rare, genic CNVs (1.19 fold, P= 0.012), especially so for loci previously implicated in either ASD and/or intellectual disability (1.69 fold, P= 3.4×10−4). Among the CNVs, there were numerous de novo and inherited events, sometimes in combination in a given family, implicating many novel ASD genes like SHANK2, SYNGAP1, DLGAP2 and the X-linked DDX53-PTCHD1 locus. We also discovered an enrichment of CNVs disrupting functional gene-sets involved in cellular proliferation, projection and motility, and GTPase/Ras signaling. Our results reveal many new genetic and functional targets in ASD that may lead to final connected pathways.
doi:10.1038/nature09146
PMCID: PMC3021798  PMID: 20531469
25.  Disruption at the PTCHD1 locus on Xp22.11 in autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability 
Science translational medicine  2010;2(49):49ra68.
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with a complex mode of inheritance. It is one of the most highly heritable of the complex disorders, however, the underlying genetic factors remain largely unknown. Here, we report mutations in the X-chromosome PTCHD1 (patched-related) gene, in seven families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and in three families with intellectual disability (ID). A 167 Kb microdeletion spanning exon 1 was found in two brothers, one with ASD the other with learning disability and ASD features, and a 90 Kb microdeletion spanning the entire gene was found in three males with ID in a second family. In 900 ASD and 208 ID male probands we identified seven different missense changes in eight probands, all male and inherited from unaffected mothers, and not found in controls. Two of the ASD individuals with missense changes also carried a de novo deletion at another ASD-susceptibility locus (DPYD and DPP6), suggesting complex genetic contributions. In additional males with ASD, we identified deletions in the 5’ flanking region of PTCHD1 disrupting a complex non-coding RNA and potential regulatory elements; equivalent changes were not found in male control individuals (p=1.2 ×10-5). Systematic screening at PTCHD1 and 5’-flanking regions, suggests involvement of this locus in ~1% of ASD and ID individuals.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3001267
PMCID: PMC2987731  PMID: 20844286

Results 1-25 (30)