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1.  The effects of Kiaa0319 knockdown on cortical and subcortical anatomy in male rats 
Developmental dyslexia is a disorder characterized by a specific deficit in reading despite adequate overall intelligence and educational resources. The neurological substrate underlying these significant behavioral impairments is not known. Studies of post mortem brain tissue from male and female dyslexic individuals revealed focal disruptions of neuronal migration concentrated in the left hemisphere, along with aberrant symmetry of the right and left the planum temporale, and changes in cell size distribution within the medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus (Galaburda et al., 1985; Humphreys et al., 1990). More recent neuroimaging studies have identified several changes in the brains of dyslexic individuals, including regional changes in gray matter, changes in white matter, and changes in patterns of functional activation. In a further effort to elucidate the etiology of dyslexia, epidemiological and genetic studies have identified several candidate dyslexia susceptibility genes. Some recent work has investigated associations between some of these genetic variants and structural changes in the brain. Variants of one candidate dyslexia susceptibility gene, KIAA0319, have been linked to morphological changes in the cerebellum and functional activational changes in the superior temporal sulcus (Jamadar et al., 2011; Pinel et al., 2012). Animal models have been used to create a knockdown of Kiaa0319 (the rodent homolog of the human gene) via in utero RNA interference in order to study the gene’s effects on brain development and behavior. Studies using this animal model have demonstrated that knocking down the gene leads to focal disruptions of neuronal migration in the form of ectopias and heterotopias, similar to those observed in the brains of human dyslexics. However, further changes to the structure of the brain have not been studied following this genetic disruption. The current study sought to determine the effects of embryonic Kiaa0319 knockdown on volume of the cortex and hippocampus, as well as midsagittal area of the corpus callosum in male rats. Results demonstrate that Kiaa0319 knockdown did not change the volume of the cortex or hippocampus, but did result in a significant reduction in the midsagittal area of the corpus callosum. Taken in the context of previous reports of behavioral deficits following Kiaa0319 knockdown (Szalkowski et al., 2012), and reports that reductions of corpus callosum size are related to processing deficits in humans (Paul et al., 2011), these results suggest that Kiaa0319 has a specific involvement in neural systems important for temporal processing.
PMCID: PMC3689304  PMID: 23220223
Dyslexia; KIAA0319; RNA interference; Neuronal migration; Rapid auditory processing1
2.  The dyslexia-associated protein KIAA0319 interacts with adaptor protein 2 and follows the classical clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathway 
Recently, genetic studies have implicated KIAA0319 in developmental dyslexia, the most common of the childhood learning disorders. The first functional data indicated that the KIAA0319 protein is expressed on the plasma membrane and may be involved in neuronal migration. Further analysis of the subcellular distribution of the overexpressed protein in mammalian cells indicates that KIAA0319 can colocalize with the early endosomal marker early endosome antigen 1 (EEA1) in large intracellular vesicles, suggesting that it is endocytosed. Antibody internalization assays with full-length KIAA0319 and deletion constructs confirmed that KIAA0319 is internalized and showed the importance of the cytoplasmic juxtamembranal region in this process. The present study has identified the medium subunit (μ2) of adaptor protein 2 (AP-2) as a binding partner of KIAA0319 in a yeast two-hybrid screen. Using Rab5 mutants or depletion of the μ-subunit of AP-2 or clathrin heavy chain by RNA interference, we demonstrate that KIAA0319 follows a clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway. We also identify tyrosine-995 of KIAA0319 as a critical amino acid required for the interaction with AP-2 and subsequent internalization. These results suggest the surface expression of KIAA0319 is regulated by endocytosis, supporting the idea that the internalization and recycling of the protein may be involved in fine tuning its role in neuronal migration.
PMCID: PMC2711651  PMID: 19419997
Rab5; adaptor protein-2; trafficking
3.  Embryonic disruption of the candidate dyslexia susceptibility gene homologue Kiaa0319-like results in neuronal migration disorders 
Neuroscience  2013;0:585-593.
Developmental dyslexia, the most common childhood learning disorder, is highly heritable, and recent studies have identified KIAA0319-Like (KIAA0319L) as a candidate dyslexia susceptibility gene at the 1p36-34 (DYX8) locus. In this experiment, we investigated the anatomical effects of knocking down this gene during rat corticogenesis. Cortical progenitor cells were transfected using in utero electroporation on embryonic day (E) 15.5 with plasmids encoding either: (1) Kiaa0319l shRNA, (2) an expression construct for human KIAA0319L, (3) Kiaa0319l shRNA + KIAA0319L expression construct (rescue), or (4) controls (scrambled Kiaa0319l shRNA or empty expression vector). Mothers were injected with BrdU at either E13.5, E15.5, or E17.5. Disruption of Kiaa0319l function (by knockdown, overexpression, or rescue) resulted in the formation of large nodular periventricular heterotopia in approximately 25% of the rats, and these heterotopia can be seen as early as postnatal day 1. Only a small subset of heterotopic neurons had been transfected, indicating non-cell autonomous effects of the transfection. Most heterotopic neurons were generated in mid- to late-gestation, and laminar markers suggest that they were destined for upper cortical laminæ. Finally, we found that transfected neurons in the cerebral cortex were located in their expected laminæ. These results indicate that KIAA0319L is the fourth of four candidate dyslexia susceptibility genes that is involved in neuronal migration, which supports the association of abnormal neuronal migration with developmental dyslexia.
PMCID: PMC3843998  PMID: 23831424
Developmental Dyslexia; Neuronal Migration; Cerebral cortex; In Utero Electroporation; RNAi
4.  DCDC2, KIAA0319 and CMIP Are Associated with Reading-Related Traits 
Biological Psychiatry  2011;70(3):237-245.
Several susceptibility genes have been proposed for dyslexia (reading disability; RD) and specific language impairment (SLI). RD and SLI show comorbidity, but it is unclear whether a common genetic component is shared.
We have investigated whether candidate genes for RD and SLI affect specific cognitive traits or have broad effect on cognition. We have analyzed common risk variants within RD (MRPL19/C2ORF3, KIAA0319, and DCDC2) and language impairment (CMIP and ATP2C2) candidate loci in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort (n = 3725), representing children born in southwest England in the early 1990s.
We detected associations between reading skills and KIAA0319, DCDC2, and CMIP. We show that DCDC2 is specifically associated with RD, whereas variants in CMIP and KIAA0319 are associated with reading skills across the ability range. The strongest associations were restricted to single-word reading and spelling measures, suggesting that these genes do not extend their effect to other reading and language-related skills. Inclusion of individuals with comorbidity tends to strengthen these associations. Our data do not support MRPL19/C2ORF3 as a locus involved in reading abilities nor CMIP/ATP2C2 as genes regulating language skills.
We provide further support for the role of KIAA0319 and DCDC2 in contributing to reading abilities and novel evidence that the language-disorder candidate gene CMIP is also implicated in reading processes. Additionally, we present novel data to evaluate the prevalence and comorbidity of RD and SLI, and we recommend not excluding individuals with comorbid RD and SLI when designing genetic association studies for RD.
PMCID: PMC3139836  PMID: 21457949
ALSPAC; association study; dyslexia; language; reading abilities; specific language impairment (SLI)
5.  Investigation of Dyslexia and SLI Risk Variants in Reading- and Language-Impaired Subjects 
Behavior Genetics  2010;41(1):90-104.
Dyslexia (or reading disability) and specific language impairment (or SLI) are common childhood disorders that show considerable co-morbidity and diagnostic overlaps and have been suggested to share some genetic aetiology. Recently, genetic risk variants have been identified for SLI and dyslexia enabling the direct evaluation of possible shared genetic influences between these disorders. In this study we investigate the role of variants in these genes (namely MRPL19/C20RF3,ROBO1,DCDC2, KIAA0319, DYX1C1, CNTNAP2, ATP2C2 and CMIP) in the aetiology of SLI and dyslexia. We perform case–control and quantitative association analyses using measures of oral and written language skills in samples of SLI and dyslexic families and cases. We replicate association between KIAA0319 and DCDC2 and dyslexia and provide evidence to support a role for KIAA0319 in oral language ability. In addition, we find association between reading-related measures and variants in CNTNAP2 and CMIP in the SLI families.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9424-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3029677  PMID: 21165691
Dyslexia; Specific language impairment (SLI); Genetics; Association
6.  Variants in the DYX2 locus are associated with altered brain activation in reading-related brain regions in subjects with reading disability 
NeuroImage  2012;63(1):148-156.
Reading disability (RD) is a complex genetic disorder with unknown etiology. Genes on chromosome 6p22, including DCDC2, KIAA0319, and TTRAP, have been identified as RD associated genes. Imaging studies have shown both functional and structural differences between brains of individuals with and without RD. There are limited association studies performed between RD genes, specifically genes on 6p22, and regional brain activation during reading tasks. Using fourteen variants in DCDC2, KIAA0319, and TTRAP and exhaustive reading measures, we first tested for association with reading performance in 82 parent-offspring families (326 individuals). Next, we determined the association of these variants with activation of sixteen brain regions of interest during four functional magnetic resonance imaging-reading tasks. We nominally replicated associations between reading performance and variants of DCDC2 and KIAA0319. Furthermore, we observed a number of associations with brain activation patterns during imaging-reading tasks with all three genes. The strongest association occurred between activation of the left anterior inferior parietal lobe and complex tandem repeat BV677278 in DCDC2 (uncorrected p=0.00003, q=0.0442). Our results show that activation patterns across regions of interest in the brain are influenced by variants in the DYX2 locus. The combination of genetic and functional imaging data show a link between genes and brain functioning during reading tasks in subjects with RD. This study highlights the many advantages of imaging data as an endophenotype for discerning genetic risk factors for RD and other communication disorders and underscores the importance of integrating neurocognitive, imaging, and genetic data in future investigations.
PMCID: PMC3518451  PMID: 22750057
dyslexia; DCDC2; TTRAP; imaging-genetics; neuroimaging
7.  The Effect of Variation in Expression of the Candidate Dyslexia Susceptibility Gene Homolog Kiaa0319 on Neuronal Migration and Dendritic Morphology in the Rat 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2009;20(4):884-897.
We investigated the postnatal effects of embryonic knockdown and overexpression of the candidate dyslexia gene homolog Kiaa0319. We used in utero electroporation to transfect cells in E15/16 rat neocortical ventricular zone with either 1) small hairpin RNA (shRNA) vectors targeting Kiaa0319, 2) a KIAA0319 expression construct, 3) Kiaa0319 shRNA along with KIAA0319 expression construct (“rescue”), or 4) a scrambled version of Kiaa0319 shRNA. Knockdown, but not overexpression, of Kiaa0319 resulted in periventricular heterotopias that contained large numbers of both transfected and non–transfected neurons. This suggested that Kiaa0319 shRNA disrupts neuronal migration by cell autonomous as well as non–cell autonomous mechanisms. Of the Kiaa0319 shRNA–transfected neurons that migrated into the cortical plate, most migrated to their appropriate lamina. In contrast, neurons transfected with the KIAA0319 expression vector attained laminar positions subjacent to their expected positions. Neurons transfected with Kiaa0319 shRNA exhibited apical, but not basal, dendrite hypertrophy, which was rescued by overexpression of KIAA0319. The results provide additional supportive evidence linking candidate dyslexia susceptibility genes to migrational disturbances during brain development, and extends the role of Kiaa0319 to include growth and differentiation of dendrites.
PMCID: PMC2837091  PMID: 19679544
cerebral cortex; dendritic hypertrophy; heterotopias; malformation; RNAi
8.  Characterization of the DYX2 locus on chromosome 6p22 with reading disability, language impairment, and IQ 
Human Genetics  2014;133(7):869-881.
Reading disability (RD) and language impairment (LI) are common neurodevelopmental disorders with moderately strong genetic components and lifelong implications. RD and LI are marked by unexpected difficulty acquiring and processing written and verbal language, respectively, despite adequate opportunity and instruction. RD and LI—and their associated deficits—are complex, multifactorial, and often comorbid. Genetic studies have repeatedly implicated the DYX2 locus, specifically the genes DCDC2 and KIAA0319, in RD, with recent studies suggesting they also influence LI, verbal language, and cognition. Here, we characterize the relationship of the DYX2 locus with RD, LI, and IQ. To accomplish this, we developed a marker panel densely covering the 1.4 Mb DYX2 locus and assessed association with reading, language, and IQ measures in subjects from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. We then replicated associations in three independent, disorder-selected cohorts. As expected, there were associations with known RD risk genes KIAA0319 and DCDC2. In addition, we implicated markers in or near other DYX2 genes, including TDP2, ACOT13, C6orf62, FAM65B, and CMAHP. However, the LD structure of the locus suggests that associations within TDP2, ACOT13, and C6orf62 are capturing a previously reported risk variant in KIAA0319. Our results further substantiate the candidacy of KIAA0319 and DCDC2 as major effector genes in DYX2, while proposing FAM65B and CMAHP as new DYX2 candidate genes. Association of DYX2 with multiple neurobehavioral traits suggests risk variants have functional consequences affecting multiple neurological processes. Future studies should dissect these functional, possibly interactive relationships of DYX2 candidate genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-014-1427-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4053598  PMID: 24509779
9.  Neocortical disruption and behavioral impairments in rats following in utero RNAi of candidate dyslexia risk gene Kiaa0319 
Within the last decade several genes have been identified as candidate risk genes for developmental dyslexia. Recent research using animal models and embryonic RNA interference (RNAi) has shown that a subset of the candidate dyslexia risk genes—DYX1C1, ROBO1, DCDC2, KIAA0319—regulate critical parameters of neocortical development, such as neuronal migration. For example, embryonic disruption of the rodent homolog of DYX1C1 disrupts neuronal migration and produces deficits in rapid auditory processing (RAP) and working memory—phenotypes that have been reported to be associated with developmental dyslexia. In the current study we used a modified prepulse inhibition paradigm to assess acoustic discrimination abilities of male Wistar rats following in utero RNA interference targeting Kiaa0319. We also assessed spatial learning and working memory using a Morris water maze (MWM) and a radial arm water maze. We found that embryonic interference with this gene resulted in disrupted migration of neocortical neurons leading to formation of heterotopia in white matter, and to formation of hippocampal dysplasia in a subset of animals. These animals displayed deficits in processing complex acoustic stimuli, and those with hippocampal malformations exhibited impaired spatial learning abilities. No significant impairment in working memory was detected in the Kiaa0319 RNAi treated animals. Taken together, these results suggest that Kiaa0319 plays a role in neuronal migration during embryonic development, and that early interference with this gene results in an array of behavioral deficits including impairments in rapid auditory processing and simple spatial learning.
PMCID: PMC3516384  PMID: 22326444
Dyslexia; KIAA0319; Rapid auditory processing; RNA interference; Neuronal migration
10.  A common haplotype of KIAA0319 contributes to the phonological awareness skill in Chinese children 
Previous studies have shown that KIAA0319 is a candidate gene for dyslexia in western populations. In view of the different languages used in Caucasian and Chinese populations, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether there is also an association of KIAA0319 in Chinese children with dyslexia and/or to the language-related cognitive skills.
Method and results
A total of twenty six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped from three hundred and ninety three individuals from 131 Chinese families. Four of the SNPs have been reported in the literature and twenty two being tag SNPs at KIAA0319. Analysis for allelic and haplotypic associations was performed with the UNPHASED program and multiple testing was corrected using permutation. Results indicate that KIAA0319 is not associated with Chinese children with dyslexia but a haplotype consisting of rs2760157 and rs807507 SNPs were significantly associated with an onset detection test, a measure of phonological awareness (p nominal  = 6.85 10 -5 and p corrected  = 0.0029).
In conclusion, our findings suggest that KIAA0319 is associated with a reading-related cognitive skill.
PMCID: PMC4114142  PMID: 25015435
KIAA0319; Dyslexia; Chinese population; Phonological awareness
11.  The human lexinome: Genes of language and reading 
Within the human genome, genetic mapping studies have identified ten regions of different chromosomes, known as DYX loci, in genetic linkage with dyslexia, and two, known as SLI loci, in genetic linkage with Specific Language Impairment. Further genetic studies have identified four dyslexia genes within the DYX loci: DYX1C1 on 15q, KIAA0319 and DCDC2 on 6p22, and ROBO1on 13q. FOXP2 on 7q has been implicated in the development of Speech-Language Disorder. No genes for Specific Language impairment have yet been identified within the two SLI loci. Functional studies have shown that all four dyslexia genes play roles in brain development, and ongoing molecular studies are attempting to elucidate how these genes exert their effects at a subcellular level. Taken together, these genes and loci likely represent only a fraction of the human lexinome, a term we introduce here to refer to the collection of all the genetic and protein elements involved in the development of human language, expression, and reading.
Learning outcomes
The reader will become familiar with (i) methods for identifying genes for complex diseases, (ii) the application of these methods in the elucidation of genes underlying disorders of language and reading, and (iii) the cellular pathways through which polymorphisms in these genes may contribute to the development of the disorders.
PMCID: PMC2488410  PMID: 18466916
12.  The Dyslexia-associated KIAA0319 Protein Undergoes Proteolytic Processing with γ-Secretase-independent Intramembrane Cleavage* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(51):40148-40162.
The KIAA0319 gene has been associated with reading disability in several studies. It encodes a plasma membrane protein with a large, highly glycosylated, extracellular domain. This protein is proposed to function in adhesion and attachment and thought to play an important role during neuronal migration in the developing brain. We have previously proposed that endocytosis of this protein could constitute an important mechanism to regulate its function. Here we show that KIAA0319 undergoes ectodomain shedding and intramembrane cleavage. At least five different cleavage events occur, four in the extracellular domain and one within the transmembrane domain. The ectodomain shedding processing cleaves the extracellular domain, generating several small fragments, including the N-terminal region with the Cys-rich MANEC domain. It is possible that these fragments are released to the extracellular medium and trigger cellular responses. The intramembrane cleavage releases the intracellular domain from its membrane attachment. Our results suggest that this cleavage event is not carried out by γ-secretase, the enzyme complex involved in similar processing in many other type I proteins. The soluble cytoplasmic domain of KIAA0319 is able to translocate to the nucleus, accumulating in nucleoli after overexpression. This fragment has an unknown role, although it could be involved in regulation of gene expression. The absence of DNA-interacting motifs indicates that such a function would most probably be mediated through interaction with other proteins, not by direct DNA binding. These results suggest that KIAA0319 not only has a direct role in neuronal migration but may also have additional signaling functions.
PMCID: PMC3000997  PMID: 20943657
Cell Adhesion; Cell Migration; Cell Surface Protein; Intramembrane Proteolysis; Membrane Proteins; Protein Processing; RIP; Secretases; KIAA0319; Dyslexia
13.  Position of Neocortical Neurons Transfected at Different Gestational Ages with shRNA Targeted against Candidate Dyslexia Susceptibility Genes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65179.
Developmental dyslexia is a language learning disorder that affects approximately 4–10% of the population. A number of candidate dyslexia susceptibility genes have been identified, including DCDC2 and KIAA0319 on Chromosome (Chr) 6p22.2 and DYX1C1 on Chr 15q21. Embryonic knockdown of the function of homologs of these genes in rat neocortical projection cell progenitors by in utero electroporation of plasmids encoding small hairpin RNA (shRNA) revealed that all three genes disrupted neuronal migration to the neocortex. Specifically, this disruption would result in heterotopia formation (Dyx1c1 and Kiaa0319) and/or overmigration past their expected laminar location (Dyx1c1 and Dcdc2). In these experiments, neurons normally destined for the upper neocortical laminæ were transfected on embryonic day (E) 15.5, and we designed experiments to test whether these migration phenotypes were the result of targeting a specific type of projection neuron. We transfected litters with Dcdc2 shRNA, Dyx1c1 shRNA, Kiaa0319 shRNA, or fluorescent protein (as a control) at each of three gestational ages (E14.5, E15.5, or E16.5). Pups were allowed to come to term, and their brains were examined at 3 weeks of age for the position of transfected cells. We found that age of transfection did not affect the percentage of unmigrated neurons—transfection with Kiaa0319 shRNA resulted in heterotopia formation at all three ages. Overmigration of neurons transfected with Dcdc2 shRNA, while present following transfections at the later ages, did not occur following E14.5 transfections. These results are considered in light of the known functions of each of these candidate dyslexia susceptibility genes.
PMCID: PMC3665803  PMID: 23724130
14.  Dyslexia and DCDC2: normal variation in reading and spelling is associated with DCDC2 polymorphisms in an Australian population sample 
The 6p21-p22 chromosomal region has been identified as a developmental dyslexia locus both in linkage and association studies, the latter generating evidence for the doublecortin domain containing 2 (DCDC2) as a candidate gene at this locus (and also for KIAA0319). Here, we report an association between DCDC2 and reading and spelling ability in 522 families of adolescent twins unselected for reading impairment. Family-based association was conducted on 21 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DCDC2 using quantitative measures of lexical processing (irregular-word reading), phonological decoding (non-word reading) and spelling-based measures of dyslexia derived from the Components of Reading Examination test. Significant support for association was found for rs1419228 with regular-word reading and spelling (P=0.002) as well as irregular-word reading (P=0.004), whereas rs1091047 was significantly associated (P=0.003) with irregular-word reading (a measure of lexical storage). Four additional SNPs (rs9467075, rs9467076, rs7765678 and rs6922023) were nominally associated with reading and spelling. This study provides support for DCDC2 as a risk gene for reading disorder, and suggests that this risk factor acts on normally varying reading skill in the general population.
PMCID: PMC2987340  PMID: 20068590
dyslexia; DCDC2; reading ability; spelling ability
15.  A Dyslexia-Associated Variant in DCDC2 Changes Gene Expression 
Behavior genetics  2010;41(1):58-66.
Reading disability (RD) or dyslexia is a common neurogenetic disorder. Two genes, KIAA0319 and DCDC2, have been identified by association studies of the DYX2 locus on 6p21.3. We previously identified a 2445 bp deletion, and a compound STR within the deleted region (BV677278), in intron 2 of DCDC2. The deletion and several alleles of the STR are strongly associated with RD (P = 0.00002). In this study we investigated whether BV677278 is a regulatory region for DCDC2 by electrophoretic mobility shift and luciferase reporter assays. We show that oligonucleotide probes from the STR bind nuclear protein from human brain, and that alleles of the STR have a range of DCDC2-specific enhancer activities. Five alleles displayed strong enhancer activity and increased gene expression, while allele 1 showed no enhancer activity. These studies suggest that the association of BV677278 with RD reflects a role as a modifier of DCDC2 expression.
PMCID: PMC3053575  PMID: 21042874
Dyslexia; Reading disability; DCDC2; Regulatory region; Association
16.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Alcohol Dependence Implicates KIAA0040 on Chromosome 1q 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2011;37(2):557-566.
Previous studies using SAGE (the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment) and COGA (the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism) genome-wide association study (GWAS) data sets reported several risk loci for alcohol dependence (AD), which have not yet been well replicated independently or confirmed by functional studies. We combined these two data sets, now publicly available, to increase the study power, in order to identify replicable, functional, and significant risk regions for AD. A total of 4116 subjects (1409 European-American (EA) cases with AD, 1518 EA controls, 681 African-American (AA) cases, and 508 AA controls) underwent association analysis. An additional 443 subjects underwent expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis. Genome-wide association analysis was performed in EAs to identify significant risk genes. All available markers in the genome-wide significant risk genes were tested in AAs for associations with AD, and in six HapMap populations and two European samples for associations with gene expression levels. We identified a unique genome-wide significant gene—KIAA0040—that was enriched with many replicable risk SNPs for AD, all of which had significant cis-acting regulatory effects. The distributions of −log(p) values for SNP-disease and SNP-expression associations for all markers in the TNN–KIAA0040 region were consistent across EAs, AAs, and five HapMap populations (0.369⩽r⩽0.824; 2.8 × 10−9⩽p⩽0.032). The most significant SNPs in these populations were in high LD, concentrating in KIAA0040. Finally, expression of KIAA0040 was significantly (1.2 × 10−11⩽p⩽1.5 × 10−6) associated with the expression of numerous genes in the neurotransmitter systems or metabolic pathways previously associated with AD. We concluded that KIAA0040 might harbor a causal variant for AD and thus might directly contribute to risk for this disorder. KIAA0040 might also contribute to the risk of AD via neurotransmitter systems or metabolic pathways that have previously been implicated in the pathophysiology of AD. Alternatively, KIAA0040 might regulate the risk via some interactions with flanking genes TNN and TNR. TNN is involved in neurite outgrowth and cell migration in hippocampal explants, and TNR is an extracellular matrix protein expressed primarily in the central nervous system.
PMCID: PMC3242317  PMID: 21956439
risk region; alcohol dependence; cis-eQTL; GWAS; alcohol & alcoholism; neurogenetics; addiction & substance abuse; biological psychiatry; GWAScis-eQTL; risk region
Schizophrenia research  2011;129(2-3):141-148.
Individuals with schizophrenia show a broad range of language impairments, including reading difficulties. A recent structural MRI (sMRI) study linked these difficulties to structural abnormalities in language-related regions (Leonard et al., 2008). Similar regions have been implicated in primary reading disability (RD). Major hypotheses of RD implicate abnormal embryonic neuronal migration in the cortex, and genetic linkage and association studies have identified a number of candidate RD genes that are associated with neuronal migration (Paracchini et al., 2007). Interestingly, evidence suggests at least some individuals with schizophrenia also show impaired neuronal migration in the cortex (Akbarian et al., 1996). Thus the aim of this study was to examine the link between RD-related genes and grey matter volumes in healthy controls and schizophrenia. We used parallel independent component analysis (parallel-ICA) to examine the relationship between grey matter volumes extracted using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning FOXP2 and four RD-related genes, DCDC2, DYX1C1, KIAA0319 and TTRAP. Parallel-ICA identified five sMRI-SNP relationships. Superior and inferior cerebellar networks were related to DYX1C1 and DCDC2/KIAA0319 respectively in both groups. The superior prefrontal, temporal and occipital networks were positively related to DCDC2 in the schizophrenia, but not the control group. The identified networks closely correspond to the known distribution of language processes in the cortex. Thus, reading and language difficulties in schizophrenia may be related to distributed cortical structural abnormalities associated with RD-related genes.
PMCID: PMC3110636  PMID: 21507613
independent component analysis; grey matter; reading; dyslexia genes; schizophrenia
18.  Whole-exome sequencing supports genetic heterogeneity in childhood apraxia of speech 
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a rare, severe, persistent pediatric motor speech disorder with associated deficits in sensorimotor, cognitive, language, learning and affective processes. Among other neurogenetic origins, CAS is the disorder segregating with a mutation in FOXP2 in a widely studied, multigenerational London family. We report the first whole-exome sequencing (WES) findings from a cohort of 10 unrelated participants, ages 3 to 19 years, with well-characterized CAS.
As part of a larger study of children and youth with motor speech sound disorders, 32 participants were classified as positive for CAS on the basis of a behavioral classification marker using auditory-perceptual and acoustic methods that quantify the competence, precision and stability of a speaker’s speech, prosody and voice. WES of 10 randomly selected participants was completed using the Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx Sequencing System. Image analysis, base calling, demultiplexing, read mapping, and variant calling were performed using Illumina software. Software developed in-house was used for variant annotation, prioritization and interpretation to identify those variants likely to be deleterious to neurodevelopmental substrates of speech-language development.
Among potentially deleterious variants, clinically reportable findings of interest occurred on a total of five chromosomes (Chr3, Chr6, Chr7, Chr9 and Chr17), which included six genes either strongly associated with CAS (FOXP1 and CNTNAP2) or associated with disorders with phenotypes overlapping CAS (ATP13A4, CNTNAP1, KIAA0319 and SETX). A total of 8 (80%) of the 10 participants had clinically reportable variants in one or two of the six genes, with variants in ATP13A4, KIAA0319 and CNTNAP2 being the most prevalent.
Similar to the results reported in emerging WES studies of other complex neurodevelopmental disorders, our findings from this first WES study of CAS are interpreted as support for heterogeneous genetic origins of this pediatric motor speech disorder with multiple genes, pathways and complex interactions. We also submit that our findings illustrate the potential use of WES for both gene identification and case-by-case clinical diagnostics in pediatric motor speech disorders.
PMCID: PMC3851280  PMID: 24083349
Apraxia of speech; Developmental verbal dyspraxia; Next-generation sequencing; Speech disorder; Whole-exome sequencing
19.  The Axon Guidance Receptor Gene ROBO1 Is a Candidate Gene for Developmental Dyslexia  
PLoS Genetics  2005;1(4):e50.
Dyslexia, or specific reading disability, is the most common learning disorder with a complex, partially genetic basis, but its biochemical mechanisms remain poorly understood. A locus on Chromosome 3, DYX5, has been linked to dyslexia in one large family and speech-sound disorder in a subset of small families. We found that the axon guidance receptor gene ROBO1, orthologous to the Drosophila roundabout gene, is disrupted by a chromosome translocation in a dyslexic individual. In a large pedigree with 21 dyslexic individuals genetically linked to a specific haplotype of ROBO1 (not found in any other chromosomes in our samples), the expression of ROBO1 from this haplotype was absent or attenuated in affected individuals. Sequencing of ROBO1 in apes revealed multiple coding differences, and the selection pressure was significantly different between the human, chimpanzee, and gorilla branch as compared to orangutan. We also identified novel exons and splice variants of ROBO1 that may explain the apparent phenotypic differences between human and mouse in heterozygous loss of ROBO1. We conclude that dyslexia may be caused by partial haplo-insufficiency for ROBO1 in rare families. Thus, our data suggest that a slight disturbance in neuronal axon crossing across the midline between brain hemispheres, dendrite guidance, or another function of ROBO1 may manifest as a specific reading disability in humans.
Dyslexia, or specific reading disability, is a common learning disorder with a complex, partially genetic basis. A number of chromosomal regions harboring genes involved in dyslexia have been identified, and in this study the authors describe a candidate gene from one such locus, called DYX5, on Chromosome 3. The authors show that an axon guidance receptor gene, ROBO1, is disrupted by a chromosomal translocation in one dyslexic individual; furthermore, this study shows that the expression of ROBO1 is reduced on chromosomes from dyslexics in a large pedigree in which dyslexia has been linked to DYX5. ROBO1 has a role in regulating axon crossing across the midline between brain hemispheres and guidance of neuronal dendrites. As suggested by these findings, dyslexia may be caused in rare families by a small change in the expression of ROBO1, such as loss of one functional copy. Thus, ROBO1 is a candidate for a dyslexia susceptibility gene.
PMCID: PMC1270007  PMID: 16254601
20.  Speech Sound Processing Deficits and Training-Induced Neural Plasticity in Rats with Dyslexia Gene Knockdown 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98439.
In utero RNAi of the dyslexia-associated gene Kiaa0319 in rats (KIA-) degrades cortical responses to speech sounds and increases trial-by-trial variability in onset latency. We tested the hypothesis that KIA- rats would be impaired at speech sound discrimination. KIA- rats needed twice as much training in quiet conditions to perform at control levels and remained impaired at several speech tasks. Focused training using truncated speech sounds was able to normalize speech discrimination in quiet and background noise conditions. Training also normalized trial-by-trial neural variability and temporal phase locking. Cortical activity from speech trained KIA- rats was sufficient to accurately discriminate between similar consonant sounds. These results provide the first direct evidence that assumed reduced expression of the dyslexia-associated gene KIAA0319 can cause phoneme processing impairments similar to those seen in dyslexia and that intensive behavioral therapy can eliminate these impairments.
PMCID: PMC4037188  PMID: 24871331
21.  Family-based association analysis of alcohol dependence implicates KIAA0040 on Chromosome 1q in multiplex alcohol dependence families 
Open journal of genetics  2013;3(4):243-252.
A previous genome-wide linkage study of alcohol dependence in multiplex families found a suggestive linkage result for a region on Chromosome 1 near microsatellite markers D1S196 and D1S2878. The KIAA0040 gene has been mapped to this region (1q24 - q25). A recent genome-wide association study using SAGE (the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment) and COGA (Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism) found five SNPs within the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence. A meta-analysis using data from these sources also found the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence.
Using family data consisting of 1000 individuals with phenotypic data (762 with both phenotype and DNA), finer mapping of a 0.3 cM region that included the KIAA0040 gene and a flanking gene was undertaken using SNPs with minor allele frequency (MAF) ≥ 0.15 and pair-wise linkage disequilibrium (LD) of r2 < 0.8 using the HapMap CEU population.
Significant FBAT p-values were observed for six SNPs, four within the KIAA0040 gene (rs2269650, rs2861158, rs1008459, rs2272785) and two adjacent to KIAA0040 (rs10912899 and rs3753555). Five haplotype blocks of varying size were identified using HAPLOVIEW. Analysis using the haplotype-based test function of FBAT revealed one two-SNP block (rs1008459-rs2272785) associated with alcohol dependence. This block showed a pattern of transmission in which one haplotype, CT, with a frequency of 0.577 was found to be over-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.017) while another haplotype, AG, with a frequency of 0.238 was found to be under-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.006). A three-SNP block (rs1008459-rs2272785-rs375355) showed an overall significant association (p = 0.011) with alcohol dependence with the haplotype ACT over-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.016) and the haplotype GAG under-transmitted (p = 0.002).
Family-based association analysis shows the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence. The potential importance of the KIAA0040 gene for AD risk is currently unknown. However, the present results support earlier findings from a genome-wide association study.
PMCID: PMC4017249  PMID: 24829844
KIAA0040; Alcohol Dependence; Multiplex; Families
22.  Analysis of dyslexia candidate genes in the Raine cohort representing the general Australian population 
Genes, Brain, and Behavior  2011;10(2):158-165.
Several genes have been suggested as dyslexia candidates. Some of these candidate genes have been recently shown to be associated with literacy measures in sample cohorts derived from the general population. Here, we have conducted an association study in a novel sample derived from the Australian population (the Raine cohort) to further investigate the role of dyslexia candidate genes. We analysed markers, previously reported to be associated with dyslexia, located within the MRPL19/C2ORF3, KIAA0319, DCDC2 and DYX1C1 genes in a sample of 520 individuals and tested them for association with reading and spelling measures. Association signals were detected for several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within DYX1C1 with both the reading and spelling tests. The high linkage disequilibrium (LD) we observed across the DYX1C1 gene suggests that the association signal might not be refined by further genetic mapping.
PMCID: PMC3084500  PMID: 20846247
Association study; dyslexia; DYX1C1; Raine study; reading skills
23.  Developmental Disruptions and Behavioral Impairments in Rats Following In Utero RNAi of Dyx1c1 
Brain research bulletin  2006;71(5):508-514.
Developmental malformations of cortex have been shown to co-occur with language, learning and other cognitive deficits in humans. Rodent models have repeatedly shown that animals with such developmental malformations have deficits related to auditory processing and learning. More specifically, freeze-lesion induced microgyria as well as molecular layer ectopias have been found to impair rapid auditory processing ability in rats and mice. In humans, deficits in rapid auditory processing appear to relate to later impairments of language.
Recently, genetic variants of four different genes involved in early brain development have been proposed to associate with an elevated incidence of developmental dyslexia in humans. Three of these, DYX1C1, DCDC2, and KIAA0319 have been shown by in utero RNAi to play a role in neuronal migration in developing neocortex. The present study assessed the effects of in utero RNAi of Dyx1c1 on auditory processing and spatial learning in rats. Results indicate that RNAi of Dyx1c1 is associated with cortical heterotopia and is suggestive of an overall processing deficit of complex auditory stimuli in both juvenile and adult periods (p = .051 one-tail). In contrast, adult data alone reveal a significant processing impairment among RNAi treated subjects compared to shams, indicating an inability for RNAi treated subjects to improve detection of complex auditory stimuli over time (p = .022 one-tail). Further, a subset of RNAi treated rats exhibited hippocampal heterotopia centered in CA1 (in addition to cortical malformations). Malformations of hippocampus were associated with robust spatial learning impairment in this sub-group (p < .01 two-tail). In conclusion, in utero RNAi of Dyx1c1 results in heterogeneous malformations that correspond to distinct behavioral impairments in auditory processing, and spatial learning.
PMCID: PMC1893003  PMID: 17259020
In Utero Electroporation; Transfection; RNAi; Auditory Processing impairment; Spatial Learning Impairment; Developmental Dyslexia
24.  Genomewide scan identifies susceptibility locus for dyslexia on Xq27 in an extended Dutch family 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2004;41(9):652-657.
Context: Dyslexia is a common disorder with a strong genetic component, but despite significant research effort, the aetiology is still largely unknown.
Objective: To identify loci contributing to dyslexia risk.
Methods: This was a genomewide linkage analysis in a single large family. Dutch families with at least two first degree relatives suffering from dyslexia participated in the study. Participants were recruited through an advertisement campaign in papers and magazines. The main outcome measure was linkage between genetic markers and dyslexia phenotype.
Results: Using parametric linkage analysis, we found strong evidence for a locus influencing dyslexia on Xq27.3 (multipoint lod = 3.68). Recombinations in two family members flanked an 8 cM region, comprising 11 currently confirmed genes. All four males carrying the risk haplotype had very low scores on the reading tests. The presentation in females was more variable, but 8/9 females carrying the risk haplotype were diagnosed dyslexic by our composite score, so we considered the putative risk allele to be dominant with reduced penetrance. Linkage was not found in an additional collection of affected sibling pairs.
Conclusions: A locus influencing dyslexia risk is probably located between markers DXS1227 and DXS8091 on the X chromosome, closely situated to a locus indicated by a published genome scan of English sibling pairs. Although the locus may not be a common cause for dyslexia, the relatively small and gene poor region offers hope to identify the responsible gene.
PMCID: PMC1735895  PMID: 15342694
25.  Unraveling the Role of KIAA1199, a Novel Endoplasmic Reticulum Protein, in Cancer Cell Migration 
Cell migration is a critical determinant of cancer metastasis, and a better understanding of the genes involved will lead to the identification of novel targets aimed at preventing cancer dissemination. KIAA1199 has been shown to be upregulated in human cancers, yet its role in cancer progression was hitherto unknown.
Clinical relevance was assessed by examining KIAA1199 expression in human cancer specimens. In vitro and in vivo studies were employed to determine the function of KIAA1199 in cancer progression. Cellular localization of KIAA1199 was microscopically determined. SNAP-tag pull-down assays were used to identify binding partner(s) of KIAA1199. Calcium levels were evaluated using spectrofluorometric and fluorescence resonance energy transfer analyses. Signaling pathways were dissected by Western blotting. Student t test was used to assess differences. All statistical tests were two-sided.
KIAA1199 was upregulated in invasive breast cancer specimens and inversely associated with patient survival rate. Silencing of KIAA1199 in MDA-MB-435 cancer cells resulted in a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition that reduced cell migratory ability in vitro (75% reduction; P < .001) and decreased metastasis in vivo (80% reduction; P < .001). Gain-of-function assays further demonstrated the role of KIAA1199 in cell migration. KIAA1199-enhanced cell migration required endoplasmic reticulum (ER) localization, where it forms a stable complex with the chaperone binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP). A novel ER-retention motif within KIAA1199 that is required for its ER localization, BiP interaction, and enhanced cell migration was identified. Mechanistically, KIAA1199 was found to mediate ER calcium leakage, and the resultant increase in cytosolic calcium ultimately led to protein kinase C alpha activation and cell migration.
KIAA1199 serves as a novel cell migration–promoting gene and plays a critical role in maintaining cancer mesenchymal status.
PMCID: PMC3776264  PMID: 23990668

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