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1.  Both Rare and De Novo Copy Number Variants Are Prevalent in Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum but Not in Cerebellar Hypoplasia or Polymicrogyria 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003823.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) are severe congenital brain malformations with largely undiscovered causes. We conducted a large-scale chromosomal copy number variation (CNV) discovery effort in 255 ACC, 220 CBLH, and 147 PMG patients, and 2,349 controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC, but unexpectedly not CBLH or PMG patients, had rare genic CNVs over one megabase (p = 1.48×10−3; odds ratio [OR] = 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89–5.39). Rare genic CNVs were those that impacted at least one gene in less than 1% of the combined population of patients and controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients had rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes (p = 0.01; OR = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.69–5.18). Independent qPCR confirmation showed that 9.4% of ACC patients had de novo CNVs. These, in comparison to inherited CNVs, preferentially overlapped de novo CNVs previously observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (p = 3.06×10−4; OR = 7.55; 95% CI = 2.40–23.72). Interestingly, numerous reports have shown a reduced corpus callosum area in autistic patients, and diminished social and executive function in many ACC patients. We also confirmed and refined previously known CNVs, including significantly narrowing the 8p23.1-p11.1 duplication present in 2% of our current ACC cohort. We found six novel CNVs, each in a single patient, that are likely deleterious: deletions of 1p31.3-p31.1, 1q31.2-q31.3, 5q23.1, and 15q11.2-q13.1; and duplications of 2q11.2-q13 and 11p14.3-p14.2. One ACC patient with microcephaly had a paternally inherited deletion of 16p13.11 that included NDE1. Exome sequencing identified a recessive maternally inherited nonsense mutation in the non-deleted allele of NDE1, revealing the complexity of ACC genetics. This is the first systematic study of CNVs in congenital brain malformations, and shows a much higher prevalence of large gene-rich CNVs in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
Author Summary
Here, we systematically test the genetic etiology of three common developmental brain malformations: agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) by copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a large cohort of brain malformation patients and controls. We found significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients with rare genic CNVs over one megabase and with rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes when compared with controls. De novo CNVs were found in 9.4% of ACC patients, and interestingly many such CNVs overlapped with de novo CNVs observed in autism. Notably, numerous studies have demonstrated a reduction in the corpus callosum area in autistic brains. Our analysis also refined previously known large CNVs that cause these malformations, and identified six novel CNVs that are likely deleterious. One ACC patient had inherited a deletion from the father which, through exome sequencing, was found to uncover a recessive nonsense mutation in NDE1 on the non-deleted allele inherited from the mother. Our study is the first to systematically evaluate the burden of rare genic CNVs in congenital brain malformations and shows that large gene-rich CNVs are more common in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003823
PMCID: PMC3789824  PMID: 24098143
2.  De novo mutations in the actin genes ACTB and ACTG1 cause Baraitser-Winter syndrome 
Nature genetics  2012;44(4):440-S2.
Brain malformations are individually rare but collectively common causes of developmental disabilities1–3. Many forms occur sporadically and have reduced reproductive fitness, pointing towards a causative role for de novo mutations4,5. Here we report our studies of Baraitser-Winter syndrome, a well-defined syndrome characterized by distinct craniofacial features, ocular colobomata and a neuronal migration defect6,7. By using whole-exome sequencing in three proband-parent trios, we identified de novo missense changes in the cytoplasmic actin genes ACTB and ACTG1 in one and two probands, respectively. Sequencing of both genes in fifteen additional patients revealed disease-causing mutations in all probands, including two recurrent de novo mutations (ACTB p.Arg196His and ACTG1 p.Ser155Phe). Our results confirm that trio-based exome sequencing is a powerful approach to discover the genes causing sporadic developmental disorders, emphasize the overlapping roles of cytoplasmic actins in development, and suggest that Baraitser-Winter syndrome is the predominant phenotype associated with mutations of these two genes.
doi:10.1038/ng.1091
PMCID: PMC3677859  PMID: 22366783
3.  Copy number variants and infantile spasms: evidence for abnormalities in ventral forebrain development and pathways of synaptic function 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2011;19(12):1238-1245.
Infantile spasms (ISS) are an epilepsy disorder frequently associated with severe developmental outcome and have diverse genetic etiologies. We ascertained 11 subjects with ISS and novel copy number variants (CNVs) and combined these with a new cohort with deletion 1p36 and ISS, and additional published patients with ISS and other chromosomal abnormalities. Using bioinformatics tools, we analyzed the gene content of these CNVs for enrichment in pathways of pathogenesis. Several important findings emerged. First, the gene content was enriched for the gene regulatory network involved in ventral forebrain development. Second, genes in pathways of synaptic function were overrepresented, significantly those involved in synaptic vesicle transport. Evidence also suggested roles for GABAergic synapses and the postsynaptic density. Third, we confirm the association of ISS with duplication of 14q12 and maternally inherited duplication of 15q11q13, and report the association with duplication of 21q21. We also present a patient with ISS and deletion 7q11.3 not involving MAGI2. Finally, we provide evidence that ISS in deletion 1p36 may be associated with deletion of KLHL17 and expand the epilepsy phenotype in that syndrome to include early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. Several of the identified pathways share functional links, and abnormalities of forebrain synaptic growth and function may form a common biologic mechanism underlying both ISS and autism. This study demonstrates a novel approach to the study of gene content in subjects with ISS and copy number variation, and contributes further evidence to support specific pathways of pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.121
PMCID: PMC3230360  PMID: 21694734
infantile spasms; autism; bioinformatics; copy number variation; deletion 1p36 syndrome
4.  Duplication 16p11.2 in a Child with Infantile Seizure Disorder 
Submicroscopic recurrent 16p11.2 rearrangements are associated with several neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, mental retardation, and schizophrenia. The common 16p11.2 region includes 24 known genes, of which 22 are expressed in the developing human fetal nervous system. As yet, the mechanisms leading to neurodevelopmental abnormalities and the broader phenotypes associated with deletion or duplication of 16p11.2 have not been clarified. Here we report a child with spastic quadriparesis, refractory infantile seizures, severe global developmental delay, hypotonia, and microcephaly, and a de novo 598 Kb 16p11.2 microduplication. Family history is negative for any of these features in parents and immediate family members. Sequencing analyses showed no mutations in DOC2A, QPRT, and SEZ6L2, genes within the duplicated 16p11.2 region that have been implicated in neuronal function and/or seizure related phenotypes. The child’s clinical course is consistent with a rare seizure disorder called malignant migrating partial seizure disorder of infancy, raising the possibility that duplication or disruption of genes in the 16p11.2 interval may contribute to this severe disorder.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.33415
PMCID: PMC3160635  PMID: 20503337
Autism; seizure; 16p11.2; microarrays; DOC2A; QPRT; SEZ6L2
5.  A 2-Base Pair Deletion Polymorphism in the Partial Duplication of the α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Gene (CHRFAM7A) on Chromosome 15q14 is Associated with Schizophrenia 
Brain research  2009;1291:1-11.
Multiple genetic linkage studies support the hypothesis that the 15q13–14 chromosomal region contributes to the etiology of schizophrenia. Among the putative candidate genes in this area are the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNA7) and its partial duplication, CHRFAM7A. A large chromosomal segment including the CHRFAM7A gene locus, but not the CHRNA7 locus, is deleted in some individuals. The CHRFAM7A gene contains a polymorphism consisting of a 2 base pair (2 bp) deletion at position 497–498 bp of exon 6. We employed PCR-based methods to quantify the copy number of CHRFAM7A and the presence of the 2 bp polymorphism in a large, multi-ethnic population. The 2 bp polymorphism was associated with schizophrenia in African Americans (genotype p=0.005, allele p=0.015), and in Caucasians (genotype p=0.015, allele p=0.009). We conclude that the presence of the 2 bp polymorphism at the CHRFAM7A locus may have a functional significance in schizophrenia.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.041
PMCID: PMC2747474  PMID: 19631623
nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; CHRFAM7A; CHRNA7; association study; deletion; schizophrenia; duplication; P50
6.  Targeted loss of Arx results in a developmental epilepsy mouse model and recapitulates the human phenotype in heterozygous females 
Brain  2009;132(6):1563-1576.
Mutations in the X-linked aristaless-related homeobox gene (ARX) have been linked to structural brain anomalies as well as multiple neurocognitive deficits. The generation of Arx-deficient mice revealed several morphological anomalies, resembling those observed in patients and an interneuron migration defect but perinatal lethality precluded analyses of later phenotypes. Interestingly, many of the neurological phenotypes observed in patients with various ARX mutations can be attributed, in part, to interneuron dysfunction. To directly test this possibility, mice carrying a floxed Arx allele were generated and crossed to Dlx5/6CRE-IRES-GFP(Dlx5/6CIG) mice, conditionally deleting Arx from ganglionic eminence derived neurons including cortical interneurons. We now report that Arx−/y;Dlx5/6CIG (male) mice exhibit a variety of seizure types beginning in early-life, including seizures that behaviourally and electroencephalographically resembles infantile spasms, and show evolution through development. Thus, this represents a new genetic model of a malignant form of paediatric epilepsy, with some characteristics resembling infantile spasms, caused by mutations in a known infantile spasms gene. Unexpectedly, approximately half of the female mice carrying a single mutant Arx allele (Arx−/+;Dlx5/6CIG) also developed seizures. We also found that a subset of human female carriers have seizures and neurocognitive deficits. In summary, we have identified a previously unrecognized patient population with neurological deficits attributed to ARX mutations that are recapitulated in our mouse model. Furthermore, we show that perturbation of interneuron subpopulations is an important mechanism underling the pathogenesis of developmental epilepsy in both hemizygous males and carrier females. Given the frequency of ARX mutations in patients with infantile spasms and related disorders, our data unveil a new model for further understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp107
PMCID: PMC2685924  PMID: 19439424
Epilepsy; development; conditional knockout; genetic model; interneurons
7.  Consistent chromosome abnormalities identify novel polymicrogyria loci in 1p36.3, 2p16.1-p23.1, 4q21.21-q22.1, 6q26-q27 and 21q2 
Polymicrogyria is a malformation of cortical development characterized by loss of the normal gyral pattern, which is replaced by many small and infolded gyri separated by shallow, partly fused sulci, and loss of middle cortical layers. The pathogenesis is unknown, yet emerging data supports the existence of several loci in the human genome. We report on the clinical and brain imaging features, and results of cytogenetic and molecular genetic studies in 29 patients with polymicrogyria associated with structural chromosome rearrangements. Our data map new polymicrogyria loci in chromosomes 1p36.3, 2p16.1-p23, 4q21.21-q22.1, 6q26-q27, and 21q21.3-q22.1, and possible loci in 1q44 and 18p as well. Most and possibly all of these loci demonstrate incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity. We anticipate that these data will serve as the basis for ongoing efforts to identify the causal genes located in these regions.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.32293
PMCID: PMC2801020  PMID: 18536050
chromosome 1p36; chromosome 1q4; chromosome 2p; chromosome 4q2; chromosome 6q2; chromosome 18p; chromosome 21q2; deletion; duplication; polymicrogyria
8.  Microcephaly, sensorineural deafness and Currarino triad with duplication–deletion of distal 7q 
European Journal of Pediatrics  2009;169(4):475-481.
Currarino syndrome (CS) is a peculiar form of caudal regression syndrome [also known as autosomal dominant sacral agenesis (OMIM no. 176450)] characterised by (1) partial absence of the sacrum with intact first sacral vertebra, (2) a pre-sacral mass and (3) anorectal anomalies (Currarino triad). We studied a 3-year-old girl with Currarino triad who had additional systemic features and performed array comparative genomic hybridisation to look for chromosomal abnormalities. This girl had the typical spectrum of anomalies of the CS including (a) partial sacral agenesis (hemisacrum with remnants of only sacral S1–S2 vertebrae and a residual S3 vertebral body) associated with complete coccygeal agenesis, (b) pre-intrasacral dermoid, (c) intra-dural lipoma, (d) ectopic anus and (e) tethered cord. She had, in addition, pre- and post-natal growth impairment (<3rd percentile), severe microcephaly (<−3 SD) with normal gyration pattern and lack of cortical thickening associated with a hypoplastic inferior vermis, facial dysmorphism, sensorineural deafness and decreased serum levels of IGF-1. A de novo 10.3-Mb duplication of 7q34–q35 and an 8.8-Mb deletion on 7q36 were identified in this patient. The Homeobox HLXB9 (CS) gene is contained within the deletion accounting for the CS phenotype including microcephaly. The spectrums of associated abnormalities in the IGF-1 deficiency growth retardation with sensorineural deafness and mental retardation syndrome (OMIM no. 608747) are discussed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a patient with distal 7q chromosomal imbalance and features of CS triad (including microcephaly) and the first documented case of a patient with normal gyration pattern microcephaly. The spectrum of associated anomalies in this newly recognised phenotype complex consists of growth failure, typical facial anomalies with additional (previously unreported) nervous system abnormalities (e.g. sensorineural deafness) and somatomedin C deficiency.
doi:10.1007/s00431-009-1061-6
PMCID: PMC2820683  PMID: 19838731
Caudal regression syndrome; Absence of sacrum; Pre-sacral mass; Anorectal anomalies; Microcephaly; Sensorineural deafness; IGF-1 deficiency
9.  A de novo 1p34.2 microdeletion identifies the synaptic vesicle gene RIMS3 as a novel candidate for autism 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2009;47(2):81-90.
Background
A child with autism and mild microcephaly was found to have a de novo 3.3 Mb microdeletion on chromosome 1p34.2p34.3. The hypothesis is tested that this microdeletion contains one or more genes that underlie the autism phenotype in this child and in other children with autism spectrum disorders.
Methods
To search for submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements in the child, array comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH) was performed using a 19 K whole genome human bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) array and the Illumina 610-Quad BeadChip microarray. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) was used to construct functional biological networks to identify candidate autism genes. To identify putative functional variants in candidate genes, mutation screening was performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based Sanger sequencing in 512 unrelated autism patients and 462 control subjects.
Results
A de novo 3.3 Mb deletion containing ∼43 genes in chromosome 1p34.2p34.3 was identified and subsequently confirmed using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Literature review and bioinformatics analyses identified Regulating Synaptic Membrane Exocytosis 3 (RIMS3) as the most promising autism candidate gene. Mutation screening of this gene in autism patients identified five inherited coding variants, including one (p.E177A) that segregated with the autism phenotype in a sibship, was predicted to be deleterious, and was absent in 1161 controls.
Conclusions
This case report and mutation screening data suggest that RIMS3 is an autism causative or contributory gene. Functional studies of RIMS3 variants such as p.E177A should provide additional insight into the role of synaptic proteins in the pathophysiology of autism.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2008.065821
PMCID: PMC2921284  PMID: 19546099
autism; microcephaly; mental retardation; copy number variants; synapse; molecular genetics; neurosciences; psychiatry
10.  No Evidence for Association between 19 Cholinergic Genes and Bipolar Disorder 
Cholinergic dysfunction has been proposed for the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder (BD), and we have therefore performed a systematic association study of cholinergic system genes in BD (including schizoaffective disorder bipolar type). We genotyped 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 19 genes (CHAT, CHRM1-5, CHRNA1-7, CHRNA9, CHRNA10, and CHRNB1-4) in two series of samples: the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Genetics Initiative pedigrees with 474 samples from 152 families, and the Clinical Neurogenetics (CNG) pedigrees with 83 samples from 22 multiplex families.
Sib-Transmission/Disequilibrium test (sib_TDT) analysis showed nominally significant transmission bias for four SNPs (CHRNA2: rs7017417, P = 0.024; CHRNA5: rs514743, P = 0.031; CHRNB1: rs2302762, P = 0.049; CHRNB4: rs1948, P = 0.031). Haploview analyses showed nominally significant transmission bias of several haplotypes in CHRNA2, CHRNA7, CHRNB1 and CHRNB4, respectively. However, none of these associations reached gene-wide significance after correction by permutation. Alcohol dependence (including alcohol abuse) was not a significant covariate in the present genetic association analysis. Thus, it is unlikely that these 19 cholinergic genes play a major role in the predisposition to bipolar disorder in these pedigrees.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30417
PMCID: PMC2576477  PMID: 17373692
single nucleotide polymorphism; linkage disequilibrium; haplotype; bipolar disorder; cholinergic
11.  Novel Submicroscopic chromosomal abnormalities detected in Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Biological psychiatry  2008;63(12):1111-1117.
Background
One genetic mechanism known to be associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is chromosomal abnormalities. The identification of copy number variants (CNV) i.e. microdeletions and microduplications that are undetectable at the level of traditional cytogenetic analysis allows the potential association of submicroscopic chromosomal imbalances and human disease.
Methods
We performed array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) utilizing a 19K whole genome tiling path bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) microarray on 397 unrelated subjects with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Common CNV were excluded using a control group comprised of 372 individuals from the NIMH Genetics Initiative Control samples. Confirmation studies were performed on all remaining CNV using FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization), microsatellite analysis and/or quantitative PCR analysis.
Results
A total of 51 CNV were confirmed in 46 ASD subjects. Three maternal interstitial duplications of 15q11-q13 known to be associated with ASD were identified. The other 48 CNV ranged in size from 189 kb to 5.5 Mb and contained from 0 to ~40 RefSeq genes. Seven CNV were de novo and 44 were inherited.
Conclusions
51 autism-specific CNV were identified in 46/397 ASD patients using a 19K BAC microarray for an overall rate of 11.6%. These microdeletions and microduplications cause gene dosage imbalance in 272 genes many of which could be considered as candidate genes for autism.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.01.009
PMCID: PMC2440346  PMID: 18374305
autism; array comparative genomic hybridization; microdeletions; microduplications
12.  DNannotator: annotation software tool kit for regional genomic sequences 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(13):3729-3735.
Sequence annotation is essential for genomics-based research. Investigators of a specific genomic region who have developed abundant local discoveries such as genes and genetic markers, or have collected annotations from multiple resources, can be overwhelmed by the difficulty in creating local annotation and the complexity of integrating all the annotations. Presenting such integrated data in a form suitable for data mining and high-throughput experimental design is even more daunting. DNannotator, a web application, was designed to perform batch annotation on a sizeable genomic region. It takes annotation source data, such as SNPs, genes, primers, and so on, prepared by the end-user and/or a specified target of genomic DNA, and performs de novo annotation. DNannotator can also robustly migrate existing annotations in GenBank format from one sequence to another. Annotation results are provided in GenBank format and in tab-delimited text, which can be imported and managed in a database or spreadsheet and combined with existing annotation as desired. Graphic viewers, such as Genome Browser or Artemis, can display the annotation results. Reference data (reports on the process) facilitating the user's evaluation of annotation quality are optionally provided. DNannotator can be accessed at http://sky.bsd.uchicago.edu/DNannotator.htm.
PMCID: PMC168949  PMID: 12824405
13.  Deletion 16p13.11 uncovers NDE1 mutations on the non-deleted homolog and extends the spectrum of severe microcephaly to include fetal brain disruption 
Deletions of 16p13.11 have been associated with a variety of phenotypes, and have also been found in normal individuals. We report on two unrelated patients with severe microcephaly, agenesis of the corpus callosum, scalp rugae, and a fetal brain disruption (FBD)-like phenotype with inherited deletions of 16p13.11. The first patient was subsequently found on whole exome sequencing to have a nonsense mutation (p.R44X) in NDE1 on the non-deleted chromosome 16 homolog. We then undertook copy number studies of 16p13.11 and sequencing of NDE1 in nine additional patients with a similar severe microcephaly, agenesis of the corpus callosum, and FBD-like phenotype. The second patient was found to have an inherited deletion of the entire NDE1 gene combined with a frameshift mutation (c.1020-1021het_delGA) in the non-deleted NDE1. These observations broaden the phenotype seen in NDE1-related microcephaly to include FBD. These data also represent the second described syndrome, after Bernard-Soulier syndrome, where an autosomal recessive condition combines an inherited segmental duplication mediated deletion with a mutation in a gene within the non-deleted homolog. Finally, we performed informatics analysis of the 16p13.11 gene content, and found that there are many genes within the region with evidence for role(s) in brain development. Sequencing of other candidate genes in this region in patients with deletion 16p13.11 and more severe neurophenotypes may be warranted.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.35969
PMCID: PMC3689850  PMID: 23704059
deletion 16p13.11; NDE1; whole exome sequencing; fetal brain disruption; microcephaly; agenesis of the corpus callosum
14.  Microduplications of 16p11.2 are Associated with Schizophrenia 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1223-1227.
Recurrent microdeletions and microduplications of a 600 kb genomic region of chromosome 16p11.2 have been implicated in childhood-onset developmental disorders1-3. Here we report the strong association of 16p11.2 microduplications with schizophrenia in two large cohorts. In the primary sample, the microduplication was detected in 12/1906 (0.63%) cases and 1/3971 (0.03%) controls (P=1.2×10-5, OR=25.8). In the replication sample, the microduplication was detected in 9/2645 (0.34%) cases and 1/2420 (0.04%) controls (P=0.022, OR=8.3). For the series combined, microduplication of 16p11.2 was associated with 14.5-fold increased risk of schizophrenia (95% C.I. [3.3, 62]). A meta-analysis of multiple psychiatric disorders showed a significant association of the microduplication with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. The reciprocal microdeletion was associated only with autism and developmental disorders. Analysis of patient clinical data showed that head circumference was significantly larger in patients with the microdeletion compared with patients with the microduplication (P = 0.0007). Our results suggest that the microduplication of 16p11.2 confers substantial risk for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, whereas the reciprocal microdeletion is associated with contrasting clinical features.
doi:10.1038/ng.474
PMCID: PMC2951180  PMID: 19855392
15.  Singleton Deletions Throughout the Genome Increase Risk of Bipolar Disorder 
Molecular psychiatry  2008;14(4):376-380.
An overall burden of rare structural genomic variants has not been reported in Bipolar Disorder (BD), although there have been reports of cases with microduplication and microdeletion. Here, we present a genome wide copy number variant (CNV) survey of 1001 cases and 1034 controls using the Affymetrix SNP 6.0 SNP and CNV platform. Singleton deletions (deletions that appear only once in the dataset) more than 100 kilobases in length are present in 16.2% of BD cases in contrast to 12.3% of controls (permutation p = 0.007). This effect was more pronounced for age at onset of mania ≤ 18 years old. Our results strongly suggest that BD can result from the effects of multiple rare structural variants.
doi:10.1038/mp.2008.144
PMCID: PMC2735188  PMID: 19114987
16.  Association and Mutation Analyses of 16p11.2 Autism Candidate Genes 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4582.
Background
Autism is a complex childhood neurodevelopmental disorder with a strong genetic basis. Microdeletion or duplication of a ∼500–700-kb genomic rearrangement on 16p11.2 that contains 24 genes represents the second most frequent chromosomal disorder associated with autism. The role of common and rare 16p11.2 sequence variants in autism etiology is unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To identify common 16p11.2 variants with a potential role in autism, we performed association studies using existing data generated from three microarray platforms: Affymetrix 5.0 (777 families), Illumina 550 K (943 families), and Affymetrix 500 K (60 families). No common variants were identified that were significantly associated with autism. To look for rare variants, we performed resequencing of coding and promoter regions for eight candidate genes selected based on their known expression patterns and functions. In total, we identified 26 novel variants in autism: 13 exonic (nine non-synonymous, three synonymous, and one untranslated region) and 13 promoter variants. We found a significant association between autism and a coding variant in the seizure-related gene SEZ6L2 (12/1106 autism vs. 3/1161 controls; p = 0.018). Sez6l2 expression in mouse embryos was restricted to the spinal cord and brain. SEZ6L2 expression in human fetal brain was highest in post-mitotic cortical layers, hippocampus, amygdala, and thalamus. Association analysis of SEZ6L2 in an independent sample set failed to replicate our initial findings.
Conclusions/Significance
We have identified sequence variation in at least one candidate gene in 16p11.2 that may represent a novel genetic risk factor for autism. However, further studies are required to substantiate these preliminary findings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004582
PMCID: PMC2644762  PMID: 19242545

Results 1-16 (16)