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1.  Heterozygous FA2H mutations in autism spectrum disorders 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:124.
Background
Widespread abnormalities in white matter development are frequently reported in cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and could be involved in the disconnectivity suggested in these disorders. Homozygous mutations in the gene coding for fatty-acid 2-hydroxylase (FA2H), an enzyme involved in myelin synthesis, are associated with complex leukodystrophies, but little is known about the functional impact of heterozygous FA2H mutations. We hypothesized that rare deleterious heterozygous mutations of FA2H might constitute risk factors for ASD.
Methods
We searched deleterious mutations affecting FA2H, by genotyping 1256 independent patients with ASD genotyped using Genome Wide SNP arrays, and also by sequencing in independent set of 186 subjects with ASD and 353 controls. We then explored the impact of the identified mutations by measuring FA2H enzymatic activity and expression, in transfected COS7 cells.
Results
One heterozygous deletion within 16q22.3-q23.1 including FA2H was observed in two siblings who share symptoms of autism and severe cognitive impairment, axial T2-FLAIR weighted MRI posterior periventricular white matter lesions. Also, two rare non-synonymous mutations (R113W and R113Q) were reported. Although predictive models suggested that R113W should be a deleterious, we did not find that FA2H activity was affected by expression of the R113W mutation in cultured COS cells.
Conclusions
While our results do not support a major role for FA2H coding variants in ASD, a screening of other genes related to myelin synthesis would allow us to better understand the role of non-neuronal elements in ASD susceptibility.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-14-124
PMCID: PMC4219428  PMID: 24299421
Autism; Brain; Gene; Myelin
2.  Mutation screening of ASMT, the last enzyme of the melatonin pathway, in a large sample of patients with Intellectual Disability 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:17.
Background
Intellectual disability (ID) is frequently associated with sleep disorders. Treatment with melatonin demonstrated efficacy, suggesting that, at least in a subgroup of patients, the endogenous melatonin level may not be sufficient to adequately set the sleep-wake cycles. Mutations in ASMT gene, coding the last enzyme of the melatonin pathway have been reported as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which are often comorbid with ID. Thus the aim of the study was to ascertain the genetic variability of ASMT in a large cohort of patients with ID and controls.
Methods
Here, we sequenced all exons of ASMT in a sample of 361 patients with ID and 440 controls. We then measured the ASMT activity in B lymphoblastoid cell lines (BLCL) of patients with ID carrying an ASMT variant and compared it to controls.
Results
We could identify eleven variations modifying the protein sequence of ASMT (ID only: N13H, N17K, V171M, E288D; controls only: E61Q, D210G, K219R, P243L, C273S, R291Q; ID and controls: L298F) and two deleterious splice site mutations (IVS5+2T>C and IVS7+1G>T) only observed in patients with ID. We then ascertained ASMT activity in B lymphoblastoid cell lines from patients carrying the mutations and showed significantly lower enzyme activity in patients carrying mutations compared to controls (p = 0.004).
Conclusions
We could identify patients with deleterious ASMT mutations as well as decreased ASMT activity. However, this study does not support ASMT as a causative gene for ID since we observed no significant enrichment in the frequency of ASMT variants in ID compared to controls. Nevertheless, given the impact of sleep difficulties in patients with ID, melatonin supplementation might be of great benefit for a subgroup of patients with low melatonin synthesis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-17
PMCID: PMC3034665  PMID: 21251267
3.  Mutation screening of NOS1AP gene in a large sample of psychiatric patients and controls 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:108.
Background
The gene encoding carboxyl-terminal PDZ ligand of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS1AP) is located on chromosome 1q23.3, a candidate region for schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Previous genetic and functional studies explored the role of NOS1AP in these psychiatric conditions, but only a limited number explored the sequence variability of NOS1AP.
Methods
We analyzed the coding sequence of NOS1AP in a large population (n = 280), including patients with schizophrenia (n = 72), ASD (n = 81) or OCD (n = 34), and in healthy volunteers controlled for the absence of personal or familial history of psychiatric disorders (n = 93).
Results
Two non-synonymous variations, V37I and D423N were identified in two families, one with two siblings with OCD and the other with two brothers with ASD. These rare variations apparently segregate with the presence of psychiatric conditions.
Conclusions
Coding variations of NOS1AP are relatively rare in patients and controls. Nevertheless, we report the first non-synonymous variations within the human NOS1AP gene that warrant further genetic and functional investigations to ascertain their roles in the susceptibility to psychiatric disorders.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-108
PMCID: PMC2919462  PMID: 20602773
4.  Search for copy number variants in chromosomes 15q11-q13 and 22q11.2 in obsessive compulsive disorder 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:100.
Background
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a clinically and etiologically heterogeneous syndrome. The high frequency of obsessive-compulsive symptoms reported in subjects with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (DiGeorge/velocardiofacial syndrome) or Prader-Willi syndrome (15q11-13 deletion of the paternally derived chromosome), suggests that gene dosage effects in these chromosomal regions could increase risk for OCD. Therefore, the aim of this study was to search for microrearrangements in these two regions in OCD patients.
Methods
We screened the 15q11-13 and 22q11.2 chromosomal regions for genomic imbalances in 236 patients with OCD using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA).
Results
No deletions or duplications involving 15q11-13 or 22q11.2 were identified in our patients.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that deletions/duplications of chromosomes 15q11-13 and 22q11.2 are rare in OCD. Despite the negative findings in these two regions, the search for copy number variants in OCD using genome-wide array-based methods is a highly promising approach to identify genes of etiologic importance in the development of OCD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-100
PMCID: PMC2909937  PMID: 20565924
5.  An investigation of ribosomal protein L10 gene in autism spectrum disorders 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:7.
Background
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are severe neurodevelopmental disorders with the male:female ratio of 4:1, implying the contribution of X chromosome genetic factors to the susceptibility of ASD. The ribosomal protein L10 (RPL10) gene, located on chromosome Xq28, codes for a key protein in assembling large ribosomal subunit and protein synthesis. Two non-synonymous mutations of RPL10, L206M and H213Q, were identified in four boys with ASD. Moreover, functional studies of mutant RPL10 in yeast exhibited aberrant ribosomal profiles. These results provided a novel aspect of disease mechanisms for autism – aberrant processes of ribosome biosynthesis and translation. To confirm these initial findings, we re-sequenced RPL10 exons and quantified mRNA transcript level of RPL10 in our samples.
Methods
141 individuals with ASD were recruited in this study. All RPL10 exons and flanking junctions were sequenced. Furthermore, mRNA transcript level of RPL10 was quantified in B lymphoblastoid cell lines (BLCL) of 48 patients and 27 controls using the method of SYBR Green quantitative PCR. Two sets of primer pairs were used to quantify the mRNA expression level of RPL10: RPL10-A and RPL10-B.
Results
No non-synonymous mutations were detected in our cohort. Male controls showed similar transcript level of RPL10 compared with female controls (RPL10-A, U = 81, P = 0.7; RPL10-B, U = 61.5, P = 0.2). We did not observe any significant difference in RPL10 transcript levels between cases and controls (RPL10-A, U = 531, P = 0.2; RPL10-B, U = 607.5, P = 0.7).
Conclusion
Our results suggest that RPL10 has no major effect on the susceptibility to ASD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-10-7
PMCID: PMC2645381  PMID: 19166581
6.  Mutation analysis of the NSD1 gene in patients with autism spectrum disorders and macrocephaly 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8:68.
Background
Sotos syndrome is an overgrowth syndrome characterized by macrocephaly, advanced bone age, characteristic facial features, and learning disabilities, caused by mutations or deletions of the NSD1 gene, located at 5q35. Sotos syndrome has been described in a number of patients with autism spectrum disorders, suggesting that NSD1 could be involved in other cases of autism and macrocephaly.
Methods
We screened the NSD1 gene for mutations and deletions in 88 patients with autism spectrum disorders and macrocephaly (head circumference 2 standard deviations or more above the mean). Mutation analysis was performed by direct sequencing of all exons and flanking regions. Dosage analysis of NSD1 was carried out using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification.
Results
We identified three missense variants (R604L, S822C and E1499G) in one patient each, but none is within a functional domain. In addition, segregation analysis showed that all variants were inherited from healthy parents and in two cases were also present in unaffected siblings, indicating that they are probably nonpathogenic. No partial or whole gene deletions/duplications were observed.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that Sotos syndrome is a rare cause of autism spectrum disorders and that screening for NSD1 mutations and deletions in patients with autism and macrocephaly is not warranted in the absence of other features of Sotos syndrome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-8-68
PMCID: PMC2248565  PMID: 18001468

Results 1-6 (6)