pubmed: autism and genetics

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Fluoxetine for Autistic Behaviors (FAB trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial in children and adolescents with autism.

February 5, 2015 - 6:57am
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Fluoxetine for Autistic Behaviors (FAB trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial in children and adolescents with autism.

Trials. 2014;15:230

Authors: Mouti A, Reddihough D, Marraffa C, Hazell P, Wray J, Lee K, Kohn M

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed off-label for children with autism. To date, clinical trials examining the use of SSRIs in autism have been limited by small sample sizes and inconclusive results. The efficacy and safety of SSRIs for moderating autistic behaviors is yet to be adequately examined to provide evidence to support current clinical practice. The aim of the Fluoxetine for Autistic Behaviors (FAB) study is to determine the efficacy and safety of low dose fluoxetine compared with placebo, for reducing the frequency and severity of repetitive stereotypic behaviors in children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The relationship between the effectiveness of fluoxetine treatment and serotonin transporter genotype will also be explored.
METHODS/DESIGN: The FAB study is a multicenter, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial, funded by the Australian Government's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant. Participants will be aged between 7.5 and 17 years with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD. Eligible participants will be randomized to either placebo or fluoxetine for a 16-week period. Medication will be titrated over the first four weeks. Reponses to medication will be monitored fortnightly using the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI). The primary outcome measure is the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale-Modified for Pervasive Developmental Disorders (CYBOCS-PDD), administered at baseline and 16 weeks. Secondary outcome measures include the Aberrant Behaviour Scale (ABC), the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale Parent Report (SCAS-P), and the Repetitive Behaviors Scale (RBS-R), measured at baseline and 16 weeks. Participants will be invited to undergo genetic testing for SLC6A4 allele variants using a cheek swab. Continuous outcomes, including the primary outcome will be compared between the active and placebo groups using unadjusted linear regression. Binary outcomes will be compared using unadjusted logistic regression.
DISCUSSION: The FAB study is a large clinical trial to specifically investigate the efficacy of low dose fluoxetine for restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behaviors in ASD. The outcomes of this study will contribute to evidence-based interventions used in clinical practice to assist children with ASD.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12608000173392; registered on 9 April, 2008.

PMID: 24934401 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) exhibits striking sexual dichotomy impacting on autistic and Alzheimer's pathologies.

February 4, 2015 - 9:02am

Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) exhibits striking sexual dichotomy impacting on autistic and Alzheimer's pathologies.

Transl Psychiatry. 2015;5:e501

Authors: Malishkevich A, Amram N, Hacohen-Kleiman G, Magen I, Giladi E, Gozes I

Abstract
Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is a most frequent autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-associated gene and the only protein significantly decreasing in the serum of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Is ADNP associated with ASD being more prevalent in boys and AD more prevalent in women? Our results revealed sex-related learning/memory differences in mice, reflecting hippocampal expression changes in ADNP and ADNP-controlled AD/ASD risk genes. Hippocampal ADNP transcript content was doubled in male vs female mice, with females showing equal expression to ADNP haploinsufficient (ADNP(+/)(-)) males and no significant genotype-associated reduction. Increased male ADNP expression was replicated in human postmortem hippocampal samples. The hippocampal transcript for apolipoprotein E (the major risk gene for AD) was doubled in female mice compared with males, and further doubled in the ADNP(+/-) females, contrasting a decrease in ADNP(+/-) males. Previously, overexpression of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) led to ASD-like phenotype in mice. Here, we identified binding sites on ADNP for eIF4E and co-immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, hippocampal eIF4E expression was specifically increased in young ADNP(+/-) male mice. Behaviorally, ADNP(+/-) male mice exhibited deficiencies in object recognition and social memory compared with ADNP(+/+) mice, while ADNP(+/-) females were partially spared. Contrasting males, which preferred novel over familiar mice, ADNP(+/+) females showed no preference to novel mice and ADNP(+/-) females did not prefer mice over object. ADNP expression, positioned as a master regulator of key ASD and AD risk genes, introduces a novel concept of hippocampal gene-regulated sexual dimorphism and an ADNP(+/-) animal model for translational psychiatry.

PMID: 25646590 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Chromatin immunoprecipitation with fixed animal tissues and preparation for high-throughput sequencing.

February 4, 2015 - 9:02am

Chromatin immunoprecipitation with fixed animal tissues and preparation for high-throughput sequencing.

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2015;2015(2):pdb.prot084848

Authors: Cotney JL, Noonan JP

Abstract
Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) is a powerful method used to identify genome-wide binding patterns of transcription factors and distribution of various histone modifications associated with different chromatin states. In most published studies, ChIP-Seq has been performed on cultured cells grown under controlled conditions, allowing generation of large amounts of material in a homogeneous biological state. Although such studies have provided great insight into the dynamic landscapes of animal genomes, they do not allow the examination of transcription factor binding and chromatin states in adult tissues, developing embryonic structures, or tumors. Such knowledge is critical to understanding the information required to create and maintain a complex biological tissue and to identify noncoding regions of the genome directly involved in tissues affected by complex diseases such as autism. Studying these tissue types with ChIP-Seq can be challenging due to the limited availability of tissues and the lack of complex biological states able to be achieved in culture. These inherent differences require alterations of standard cross-linking and chromatin extraction typically used in cell culture. Here we describe a general approach for using small amounts of animal tissue to perform ChIP-Seq directed at histone modifications and transcription factors. Tissue is homogenized before treatment with formaldehyde to ensure proper cross-linking, and a two-step nuclear isolation is performed to increase extraction of soluble chromatin. Small amounts of soluble chromatin are then used for immunoprecipitation (IP) and prepared for multiplexed high-throughput sequencing.

PMID: 25646502 [PubMed - in process]

Impaired posttranslational processing and trafficking of an endosomal Na+/H+ exchanger NHE6 mutant (Δ(370)WST(372)) associated with X-linked intellectual disability and autism.

February 3, 2015 - 8:19am
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Impaired posttranslational processing and trafficking of an endosomal Na+/H+ exchanger NHE6 mutant (Δ(370)WST(372)) associated with X-linked intellectual disability and autism.

Neurochem Int. 2014 Jul;73:192-203

Authors: Ilie A, Weinstein E, Boucher A, McKinney RA, Orlowski J

Abstract
Na(+)/H(+) exchanger NHE6/SLC9A6 is an X-linked gene that is widely expressed and especially abundant in brain, heart and skeletal muscle where it is implicated in endosomal pH homeostasis and trafficking as well as maintenance of cell polarity. Recent genetic studies have identified several mutations in the coding region of NHE6 that are linked with severe intellectual disability, autistic behavior, ataxia and other abnormalities. One such defect consists of an in-frame deletion of three amino acids ((370)Trp-Ser-Thr(372), ΔWST) that adjoin the predicted ninth transmembrane helix of the exchanger. To better understand the nature of this mutation, a NHE6ΔWST construct was generated and assessed for its effects on the biochemical and cellular properties of the transporter. In transfected fibroblastic CHO and neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, immunoblot analyses showed that the mutant protein was effectively synthesized, but its subsequent oligosaccharide maturation and overall half-life were dramatically reduced compared to wild-type. These changes correlated with significant accumulation of ΔWST in the endoplasmic reticulum, with only minor sorting to the plasma membrane and negligible trafficking to recycling endosomes. The diminished accumulation in recycling endosomes was associated with a significant decrease in the rate of endocytosis of cell surface ΔWST compared to wild-type. Furthermore, while ectopic expression of wild-type NHE6 enhanced the uptake of other vesicular cargo such as transferrin along the clathrin-mediated recycling endosomal pathway, this ability was lost in the ΔWST mutant. Similarly, in transfected primary mouse hippocampal neurons, wild-type NHE6 was localized in discrete puncta throughout the soma and neurites, whereas the ΔWST mutant displayed a diffuse reticular pattern. Remarkably, the extensive dendritic arborization observed in neurons expressing wild-type NHE6 was noticeably diminished in ΔWST-transfectants. These results suggest that deletion of (370)Trp-Ser-Thr(372) leads to endoplasmic reticulum retention and loss of NHE6 function which potentially impacts the trafficking of other membrane-bound cargo and cell polarity.

PMID: 24090639 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Neuronal ablation of p-Akt at Ser473 leads to altered 5-HT1A/2A receptor function.

February 3, 2015 - 8:19am
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Neuronal ablation of p-Akt at Ser473 leads to altered 5-HT1A/2A receptor function.

Neurochem Int. 2014 Jul;73:113-21

Authors: Saunders C, Siuta M, Robertson SD, Davis AR, Sauer J, Matthies HJ, Gresch PJ, Airey DC, Lindsley CW, Schetz JA, Niswender KD, Veenstra-Vanderweele JM, Galli A

Abstract
The serotonergic system regulates a wide range of behavior, including mood and impulsivity, and its dysregulation has been associated with mood disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and addiction. Diabetes is a risk factor for these conditions. Insulin resistance in the brain is specifically associated with susceptibility to psychostimulant abuse. Here, we examined whether phosphorylation of Akt, a key regulator of the insulin signaling pathway, controls serotonin (5-HT) signaling. To explore how impairment in Akt function regulates 5-HT homeostasis, we used a brain-specific rictor knockout (KO) mouse model of impaired neuronal phosphorylation of Akt at Ser473. Cortical 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor binding was significantly elevated in rictor KO mice. Concomitant with this elevated receptor expression, the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-Hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) led to an increased hypothermic response in rictor KO mice. The increased cortical 5-HT1A receptor density was associated with higher 5-HT1A receptor levels on the cortical cell surface. In contrast, rictor KO mice displayed significantly reduced head-twitch response (HTR) to the 5-HT2A/C agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), with evidence of impaired 5-HT2A/C receptor signaling. In vitro, pharmacological inhibition of Akt significantly increased 5-HT1A receptor expression and attenuated DOI-induced 5-HT2A receptor signaling, thereby lending credence to the observed in vivo cross-talk between neuronal Akt signaling and 5-HT receptor regulation. These data reveal that defective central Akt function alters 5-HT signaling as well as 5-HT-associated behaviors, demonstrating a novel role for Akt in maintaining neuronal 5-HT receptor function.

PMID: 24090638 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Serotonin transporter and integrin beta 3 genes interact to modulate serotonin uptake in mouse brain.

February 3, 2015 - 8:19am
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Serotonin transporter and integrin beta 3 genes interact to modulate serotonin uptake in mouse brain.

Neurochem Int. 2014 Jul;73:122-6

Authors: Whyte A, Jessen T, Varney S, Carneiro AM

Abstract
Dysfunctions in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) systems have been associated with several psychiatric illnesses, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Convergent evidence from genetic analyses of human subjects has implicated the integrin β3 subunit gene (ITGB3) as a modulator of serotonergic systems via genetic interactions with the 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4, SERT). While genetic interactions may result from contributions of each gene at several levels, we hypothesize that ITGB3 modulates the 5-HT system at the level of the synapse, through the actions of integrin αvβ3. Here we utilized a genetic approach in mouse models to examine Itgb3 contributions to SERT function both in the context of normal and reduced SERT expression. As integrin αvβ3 is expressed in postsynaptic membranes, we isolated synaptoneurosomes, which maintain intact pre- and post-synaptic associations. Citalopram binding revealed significant Slc6a4-driven reductions in SERT expression in midbrain synapses, whereas no significant changes were observed in hippocampal or cortical projections. Expecting corresponding changes to SERT function, we also measured 5-HT uptake activity in synaptoneurosomal preparations. Itgb3 single heterozygous mice displayed significant reductions in 5-HT Vmax, with no changes in Km, in midbrain preparations. However, in the presence of both Itgb3 and Slc6a4 heterozygozity, 5-HT uptake was similar to wild-type levels, revealing a significant Slc6a4 by Itgb3 genetic interaction in the midbrain. Similar findings were observed in cortical preparations, whereas in the hippocampus, most Vmax changes were driven solely by Slc6a4. Our findings provide evidence that integrin αvβ3 is involved in the regulation of serotonergic systems in some, but not all 5-HT synapses, revealing novel contributions to synaptic specificity within the central nervous system.

PMID: 24083985 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Gain-of-function mutations in the calcium channel CACNA1C (Cav1.2) cause non-syndromic long-QT but not Timothy syndrome.

January 31, 2015 - 6:35am

Gain-of-function mutations in the calcium channel CACNA1C (Cav1.2) cause non-syndromic long-QT but not Timothy syndrome.

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2015 Jan 26;

Authors: Wemhöner K, Friedrich C, Stallmeyer B, Coffey AJ, Grace A, Zumhagen S, Seebohm G, Ortiz-Bonnin B, Rinné S, Sachse FB, Schulze-Bahr E, Decher N

Abstract
Gain-of-function mutations in CACNA1C, encoding the L-type Ca(2+) channel Cav1.2, cause Timothy syndrome (TS), a multi-systemic disorder with dysmorphic features, long-QT syndrome (LQTS) and autism spectrum disorders. TS patients have heterozygous mutations (G402S and G406R) located in the alternatively spliced exon 8, causing a gain-of-function by reduced voltage-dependence of inactivation. Screening 540 unrelated patients with non-syndromic forms of LQTS, we identified six functional relevant CACNA1C mutations in different regions of the channel. All these mutations caused a gain-of-function combining different mechanisms, including changes in current amplitude, rate of inactivation and voltage-dependence of activation or inactivation, similar as in TS. Computer simulations support the theory that the novel CACNA1C mutations prolong action potential duration. We conclude that genotype-negative LQTS patients should be investigated for mutations in CACNA1C, as a gain-of-function in Cav1.2 is likely to cause LQTS and only specific and rare mutations, i.e. in exon 8, cause the multi-systemic TS.

PMID: 25633834 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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