Author(s): Chang J, Gilman SR, Chiang AH, Sanders SJ, Vitkup D
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Abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Our analysis of functional networks perturbed in ASD suggests that both truncating and nontruncating de novo mutations contribute to autism, with a bias against truncating mutations in early embryonic development. We find that functional mutations are preferentially observed in genes likely to be haploinsufficient. Multiple cell types and brain areas are affected, but the impact of ASD mutations appears to be strongest in cortical interneurons, pyramidal neurons and the medium spiny neurons of the striatum, implicating cortical and corticostriatal brain circuits. In females, truncating ASD mutations on average affect genes with 50-100\% higher brain expression than in males. Our results also suggest that truncating de novo mutations play a smaller role in the etiology of high-functioning ASD cases. Overall, we find that stronger functional insults usually lead to more severe intellectual, social and behavioral ASD phenotypes.
This article was published in Nat Neurosci
and referenced in Autism-Open Access