Publications by authors named "Guillaume Huguet"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance and Distribution Embeddings.

ArXiv 2021 Feb 25. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

We propose a new fast method of measuring distances between large numbers of related high dimensional datasets called the Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance (EMD). We model the datasets as distributions supported on common data graph that is derived from the affinity matrix computed on the combined data. In such cases where the graph is a discretization of an underlying Riemannian closed manifold, we prove that Diffusion EMD is topologically equivalent to the standard EMD with a geodesic ground distance. Diffusion EMD can be computed in $\tilde{O}(n)$ time and is more accurate than similarly fast algorithms such as tree-based EMDs. We also show Diffusion EMD is fully differentiable, making it amenable to future uses in gradient-descent frameworks such as deep neural networks. Finally, we demonstrate an application of Diffusion EMD to single cell data collected from 210 COVID-19 patient samples at Yale New Haven Hospital. Here, Diffusion EMD can derive distances between patients on the manifold of cells at least two orders of magnitude faster than equally accurate methods. This distance matrix between patients can be embedded into a higher level patient manifold which uncovers structure and heterogeneity in patients. More generally, Diffusion EMD is applicable to all datasets that are massively collected in parallel in many medical and biological systems.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7924278PMC
February 2021

Genome-wide analysis of gene dosage in 24,092 individuals estimates that 10,000 genes modulate cognitive ability.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Genomic copy number variants (CNVs) are routinely identified and reported back to patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, but their quantitative effects on essential traits such as cognitive ability are poorly documented. We have recently shown that the effect size of deletions on cognitive ability can be statistically predicted using measures of intolerance to haploinsufficiency. However, the effect sizes of duplications remain unknown. It is also unknown if the effect of multigenic CNVs are driven by a few genes intolerant to haploinsufficiency or distributed across tolerant genes as well. Here, we identified all CNVs > 50 kilobases in 24,092 individuals from unselected and autism cohorts with assessments of general intelligence. Statistical models used measures of intolerance to haploinsufficiency of genes included in CNVs to predict their effect size on intelligence. Intolerant genes decrease general intelligence by 0.8 and 2.6 points of intelligence quotient when duplicated or deleted, respectively. Effect sizes showed no heterogeneity across cohorts. Validation analyses demonstrated that models could predict CNV effect sizes with 78% accuracy. Data on the inheritance of 27,766 CNVs showed that deletions and duplications with the same effect size on intelligence occur de novo at the same frequency. We estimated that around 10,000 intolerant and tolerant genes negatively affect intelligence when deleted, and less than 2% have large effect sizes. Genes encompassed in CNVs were not enriched in any GOterms but gene regulation and brain expression were GOterms overrepresented in the intolerant subgroup. Such pervasive effects on cognition may be related to emergent properties of the genome not restricted to a limited number of biological pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00985-zDOI Listing
January 2021

Mutations associated with neuropsychiatric conditions delineate functional brain connectivity dimensions contributing to autism and schizophrenia.

Nat Commun 2020 10 19;11(1):5272. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Sainte Justine Hospital Research Center, University of Montreal, 3175 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, QC, H3T 1C5, Canada.

16p11.2 and 22q11.2 Copy Number Variants (CNVs) confer high risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), schizophrenia (SZ), and Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), but their impact on functional connectivity (FC) remains unclear. Here we report an analysis of resting-state FC using magnetic resonance imaging data from 101 CNV carriers, 755 individuals with idiopathic ASD, SZ, or ADHD and 1,072 controls. We characterize CNV FC-signatures and use them to identify dimensions contributing to complex idiopathic conditions. CNVs have large mirror effects on FC at the global and regional level. Thalamus, somatomotor, and posterior insula regions play a critical role in dysconnectivity shared across deletions, duplications, idiopathic ASD, SZ but not ADHD. Individuals with higher similarity to deletion FC-signatures exhibit worse cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Deletion similarities identified at the connectivity level could be related to the redundant associations observed genome-wide between gene expression spatial patterns and FC-signatures. Results may explain why many CNVs affect a similar range of neuropsychiatric symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18997-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573583PMC
October 2020

Genome-wide association study reveals new insights into the heritability and genetic correlates of developmental dyslexia.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 Oct 14. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (M-BIC), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a learning disorder affecting the ability to read, with a heritability of 40-60%. A notable part of this heritability remains unexplained, and large genetic studies are warranted to identify new susceptibility genes and clarify the genetic bases of dyslexia. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2274 dyslexia cases and 6272 controls, testing associations at the single variant, gene, and pathway level, and estimating heritability using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. We also calculated polygenic scores (PGSs) based on large-scale GWAS data for different neuropsychiatric disorders and cortical brain measures, educational attainment, and fluid intelligence, testing them for association with dyslexia status in our sample. We observed statistically significant (p  < 2.8 × 10) enrichment of associations at the gene level, for LOC388780 (20p13; uncharacterized gene), and for VEPH1 (3q25), a gene implicated in brain development. We estimated an SNP-based heritability of 20-25% for DD, and observed significant associations of dyslexia risk with PGSs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (at p = 0.05 in the training GWAS: OR = 1.23[1.16; 1.30] per standard deviation increase; p  = 8 × 10), bipolar disorder (1.53[1.44; 1.63]; p = 1 × 10), schizophrenia (1.36[1.28; 1.45]; p = 4 × 10), psychiatric cross-disorder susceptibility (1.23[1.16; 1.30]; p = 3 × 10), cortical thickness of the transverse temporal gyrus (0.90[0.86; 0.96]; p = 5 × 10), educational attainment (0.86[0.82; 0.91]; p = 2 × 10), and intelligence (0.72[0.68; 0.76]; p = 9 × 10). This study suggests an important contribution of common genetic variants to dyslexia risk, and novel genomic overlaps with psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder susceptibility. Moreover, it revealed the presence of shared genetic foundations with a neural correlate previously implicated in dyslexia by neuroimaging evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00898-xDOI Listing
October 2020

Effect Sizes of Deletions and Duplications on Autism Risk Across the Genome.

Am J Psychiatry 2021 01 11;178(1):87-98. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Université de Montréal, Montreal (Douard, Zeribi, Schramm, Tamer, Loum, Nowak, Lord, Moreau, Huguet, Jacquemont); UHC Sainte-Justine Research Center, Montreal (Douard, Zeribi, Schramm, Tamer, Loum, Nowak, Saci, Lord, Rodríguez-Herreros, Jean-Louis, Moreau, Huguet, Jacquemont); Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal (Schramm, Greenwood); Sensory-Motor Laboratory, Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland (Rodríguez-Herreros); Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (Loth) and Center for Population Neuroscience and Stratified Medicine (Schumann), Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King's College London; Hospital for Sick Children and Departments of Physiology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto (Pausova); Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montreal (Elsabbagh); Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, and Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Almasy); Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Glahn); Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Université de Paris, Paris (Bourgeron); Département de Sciences de la Décision, HEC Montreal, Montreal (Labbe); Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto (Paus); Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto (Paus); Centre de Recherche de CIUSSS-NIM, Montreal (Mottron); Département de Psychiatrie, Université de Montréal, Montreal (Mottron); Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology, and Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal (Greenwood).

Objective: Deleterious copy number variants (CNVs) are identified in up to 20% of individuals with autism. However, levels of autism risk conferred by most rare CNVs remain unknown. The authors recently developed statistical models to estimate the effect size on IQ of all CNVs, including undocumented ones. In this study, the authors extended this model to autism susceptibility.

Methods: The authors identified CNVs in two autism populations (Simons Simplex Collection and MSSNG) and two unselected populations (IMAGEN and Saguenay Youth Study). Statistical models were used to test nine quantitative variables associated with genes encompassed in CNVs to explain their effects on IQ, autism susceptibility, and behavioral domains.

Results: The "probability of being loss-of-function intolerant" (pLI) best explains the effect of CNVs on IQ and autism risk. Deleting 1 point of pLI decreases IQ by 2.6 points in autism and unselected populations. The effect of duplications on IQ is threefold smaller. Autism susceptibility increases when deleting or duplicating any point of pLI. This is true for individuals with high or low IQ and after removing de novo and known recurrent neuropsychiatric CNVs. When CNV effects on IQ are accounted for, autism susceptibility remains mostly unchanged for duplications but decreases for deletions. Model estimates for autism risk overlap with previously published observations. Deletions and duplications differentially affect social communication, behavior, and phonological memory, whereas both equally affect motor skills.

Conclusions: Autism risk conferred by duplications is less influenced by IQ compared with deletions. The model applied in this study, trained on CNVs encompassing >4,500 genes, suggests highly polygenic properties of gene dosage with respect to autism risk and IQ loss. These models will help to interpret CNVs identified in the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.19080834DOI Listing
January 2021

Estimating the effects of copy-number variants on intelligence using hierarchical Bayesian models.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 Nov 11;44(8):825-840. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada.

It is challenging to estimate the phenotypic impact of the structural genome changes known as copy-number variations (CNVs), since there are many unique CNVs which are nonrecurrent, and most are too rare to be studied individually. In recent work, we found that CNV-aggregated genomic annotations, that is, specifically the intolerance to mutation as measured by the pLI score (probability of being loss-of-function intolerant), can be strong predictors of intellectual quotient (IQ) loss. However, this aggregation method only estimates the individual CNV effects indirectly. Here, we propose the use of hierarchical Bayesian models to directly estimate individual effects of rare CNVs on measures of intelligence. Annotation information on the impact of major mutations in genomic regions is extracted from genomic databases and used to define prior information for the approach we call HBIQ. We applied HBIQ to the analysis of CNV deletions and duplications from three datasets and identified several genomic regions containing CNVs demonstrating significant deleterious effects on IQ, some of which validate previously known associations. We also show that several CNVs were identified as deleterious by HBIQ even if they have a zero pLI score, and the converse is also true. Furthermore, we show that our new model yields higher out-of-sample concordance (78%) for predicting the consequences of carrying known recurrent CNVs compared with our previous approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22344DOI Listing
November 2020

Cannabinoids and psychotic symptoms: A potential role for a genetic variant in the P2X purinoceptor 7 (P2RX7) gene.

Brain Behav Immun 2020 08 21;88:573-581. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Department of Psychiatry, UMC Utrecht Brain Center, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Department of psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, USA. Electronic address:

To investigate the biological mechanisms underlying the higher risk for psychosis in those that use cannabis, we conducted a genome-wide environment-interaction study (GWEIS). In a sample of individuals without a psychiatric disorder (N = 1262), we analyzed the interactions between regular cannabis use and genotype with psychotic-like experiences (PLE) as outcome. PLE were measured using the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE). The sample was enriched for those at the extremes of both cannabis use and PLE to increase power. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the P2RX7 gene (rs7958311) was associated with risk for a high level of psychotic experiences in regular cannabis users (p = 1.10 x10) and in those with high levels of lifetime cannabis use (p = 4.5 × 10). This interaction was replicated in individuals with high levels of lifetime cannabis use in the IMAGEN cohort (N = 1217, p = 0.020). Functional relevance of P2RX7 in cannabis users was suggested by in vitro experiments on activated monocytes. Exposure of these cells to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) reduced the immunological response of the P2X7 receptor, which was dependent on the identified genetic variant. P2RX7 variants have been implicated in psychiatric disorders before and the P2X7 receptor is involved in pathways relevant to psychosis, such as neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity and immune regulation. We conclude that P2RX7 plays a role in vulnerability to develop psychotic symptoms when using cannabis and point to a new pathway that can potentially be targeted by newly developed P2X7 antagonists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.051DOI Listing
August 2020

Genome-wide association scan identifies new variants associated with a cognitive predictor of dyslexia.

Transl Psychiatry 2019 02 11;9(1):77. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

Developmental dyslexia (DD) is one of the most prevalent learning disorders, with high impact on school and psychosocial development and high comorbidity with conditions like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety. DD is characterized by deficits in different cognitive skills, including word reading, spelling, rapid naming, and phonology. To investigate the genetic basis of DD, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of these skills within one of the largest studies available, including nine cohorts of reading-impaired and typically developing children of European ancestry (N = 2562-3468). We observed a genome-wide significant effect (p < 1 × 10) on rapid automatized naming of letters (RANlet) for variants on 18q12.2, within MIR924HG (micro-RNA 924 host gene; rs17663182 p = 4.73 × 10), and a suggestive association on 8q12.3 within NKAIN3 (encoding a cation transporter; rs16928927, p = 2.25 × 10). rs17663182 (18q12.2) also showed genome-wide significant multivariate associations with RAN measures (p = 1.15 × 10) and with all the cognitive traits tested (p = 3.07 × 10), suggesting (relational) pleiotropic effects of this variant. A polygenic risk score (PRS) analysis revealed significant genetic overlaps of some of the DD-related traits with educational attainment (EDUyears) and ADHD. Reading and spelling abilities were positively associated with EDUyears (p ~ [10-10]) and negatively associated with ADHD PRS (p ~ [10-10]). This corroborates a long-standing hypothesis on the partly shared genetic etiology of DD and ADHD, at the genome-wide level. Our findings suggest new candidate DD susceptibility genes and provide new insights into the genetics of dyslexia and its comorbities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0402-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6370792PMC
February 2019

Both rare and common genetic variants contribute to autism in the Faroe Islands.

NPJ Genom Med 2019 21;4. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

1Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

The number of genes associated with autism is increasing, but few studies have been performed on epidemiological cohorts and in isolated populations. Here, we investigated 357 individuals from the Faroe Islands including 36 individuals with autism, 136 of their relatives and 185 non-autism controls. Data from SNP array and whole exome sequencing revealed that individuals with autism had a higher burden of rare exonic copy-number variants altering autism associated genes (deletions (  0.0352) or duplications (  0.0352)), higher inbreeding status (  0.023) and a higher load of rare homozygous deleterious variants (  0.011) compared to controls. Our analysis supports the role of several genes/loci associated with autism (e.g., , , 22q11 deletion) and identified new truncating (e.g., , and ) or recessive deleterious variants (e.g. and ) affecting autism-associated genes. It also revealed three genes involved in synaptic plasticity, , , and , carrying de novo deleterious variants in individuals with autism without intellectual disability. In summary, our analysis provides a better understanding of the genetic architecture of autism in isolated populations by highlighting the role of both common and rare gene variants and pointing at new autism-risk genes. It also indicates that more knowledge about how multiple genetic hits affect neuronal function will be necessary to fully understand the genetic architecture of autism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41525-018-0075-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341098PMC
January 2019

Measuring and Estimating the Effect Sizes of Copy Number Variants on General Intelligence in Community-Based Samples.

JAMA Psychiatry 2018 05;75(5):447-457

Department of Pediatrics, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Importance;: Copy number variants (CNVs) classified as pathogenic are identified in 10% to 15% of patients referred for neurodevelopmental disorders. However, their effect sizes on cognitive traits measured as a continuum remain mostly unknown because most of them are too rare to be studied individually using association studies.

Objective: To measure and estimate the effect sizes of recurrent and nonrecurrent CNVs on IQ.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This study identified all CNVs that were 50 kilobases (kb) or larger in 2 general population cohorts (the IMAGEN project and the Saguenay Youth Study) with measures of IQ. Linear regressions, including functional annotations of genes included in CNVs, were used to identify features to explain their association with IQ. Validation was performed using intraclass correlation that compared IQ estimated by the model with empirical data.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Performance IQ (PIQ), verbal IQ (VIQ), and frequency of de novo CNV events.

Results: The study included 2090 European adolescents from the IMAGEN study and 1983 children and parents from the Saguenay Youth Study. Of these, genotyping was performed on 1804 individuals from IMAGEN and 977 adolescents, 445 mothers, and 448 fathers (484 families) from the Saguenay Youth Study. We observed 4928 autosomal CNVs larger than 50 kb across both cohorts. For rare deletions, size, number of genes, and exons affect IQ, and each deleted gene is associated with a mean (SE) decrease in PIQ of 0.67 (0.19) points (P = 6 × 10-4); this is not so for rare duplications and frequent CNVs. Among 10 functional annotations, haploinsufficiency scores best explain the association of any deletions with PIQ with a mean (SE) decrease of 2.74 (0.68) points per unit of the probability of being loss-of-function intolerant (P = 8 × 10-5). Results are consistent across cohorts and unaffected by sensitivity analyses removing pathogenic CNVs. There is a 0.75 concordance (95% CI, 0.39-0.91) between the effect size on IQ estimated by our model and IQ loss calculated in previous studies of 15 recurrent CNVs. There is a close association between effect size on IQ and the frequency at which deletions occur de novo (odds ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.84-0.87; P = 2.7 × 10-88). There is a 0.76 concordance (95% CI, 0.41-0.91) between de novo frequency estimated by the model and calculated using data from the DECIPHER database.

Conclusions And Relevance: Models trained on nonpathogenic deletions in the general population reliably estimate the effect size of pathogenic deletions and suggest omnigenic associations of haploinsufficiency with IQ. This represents a new framework to study variants too rare to perform individual association studies and can help estimate the cognitive effect of undocumented deletions in the neurodevelopmental clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875373PMC
May 2018

Heritability of the melatonin synthesis variability in autism spectrum disorders.

Sci Rep 2017 12 18;7(1):17746. Epub 2017 Dec 18.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders with a complex genetic architecture. They are characterized by impaired social communication, stereotyped behaviors and restricted interests and are frequently associated with comorbidities such as intellectual disability, epilepsy and severe sleep disorders. Hyperserotonemia and low melatonin levels are among the most replicated endophenotypes reported in ASD, but their genetic causes remain largely unknown. Based on the biochemical profile of 717 individuals including 213 children with ASD, 128 unaffected siblings and 376 parents and other relatives, we estimated the heritability of whole-blood serotonin, platelet N-acetylserotonin (NAS) and plasma melatonin levels, as well as the two enzymes arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (ASMT) activities measured in platelets. Overall, heritability was higher for NAS (0.72 ± 0.091) and ASMT (0.59 ± 0.097) compared with serotonin (0.31 ± 0.078), AANAT (0.34 ± 0.077) and melatonin (0.22 ± 0.071). Bivariate analyses showed high phenotypic and genetic correlations between traits of the second step of the metabolic pathway (NAS, ASMT and melatonin) indicating the contribution of shared genetic factors. A better knowledge of the heritability of the melatonin synthesis variability constitutes an important step to identify the factors that perturb this pathway in individuals with ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18016-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5735101PMC
December 2017

Anatomy and Cell Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Lessons from Human Genetics.

Adv Anat Embryol Cell Biol 2017 ;224:1-25

Department of Translational Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Until recently autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was regarded as a neurodevelopmental condition with unknown causes and pathogenesis. In the footsteps of the revolution of genome technologies and genetics, and with its high degree of heritability, ASD became the first neuropsychiatric disorder for which clues towards molecular and cellular pathogenesis were uncovered by genetic identification of susceptibility genes. Currently several hundreds of risk genes have been assigned, with a recurrence below 1% in the ASD population. The multitude and diversity of known ASD genes has extended the clinical notion that ASD comprises very heterogeneous conditions ranging from severe intellectual disabilities to mild high-functioning forms. The results of genetics have allowed to pinpoint a limited number of cellular and molecular processes likely involved in ASD including protein synthesis, signal transduction, transcription/chromatin remodelling and synaptic function all playing an essential role in the regulation of synaptic homeostasis during brain development. In this context, we highlight the role of protein synthesis as a key process in ASD pathogenesis as it might be central in synaptic deregulation and a potential target for intervention. These current insights should lead to a rational design of interventions in molecular and cellular pathways of ASD pathogenesis that may be applied to affected individuals in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52498-6_1DOI Listing
June 2018

Disruption of melatonin synthesis is associated with impaired 14-3-3 and miR-451 levels in patients with autism spectrum disorders.

Sci Rep 2017 05 18;7(1):2096. Epub 2017 May 18.

Institut Pasteur, Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Paris, France.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by a wide genetic and clinical heterogeneity. However, some biochemical impairments, including decreased melatonin (crucial for circadian regulation) and elevated platelet N-acetylserotonin (the precursor of melatonin) have been reported as very frequent features in individuals with ASD. To address the mechanisms of these dysfunctions, we investigated melatonin synthesis in post-mortem pineal glands - the main source of melatonin (9 patients and 22 controls) - and gut samples - the main source of serotonin (11 patients and 13 controls), and in blood platelets from 239 individuals with ASD, their first-degree relatives and 278 controls. Our results elucidate the enzymatic mechanism for melatonin deficit in ASD, involving a reduction of both enzyme activities contributing to melatonin synthesis (AANAT and ASMT), observed in the pineal gland as well as in gut and platelets of patients. Further investigations suggest new, post-translational (reduced levels of 14-3-3 proteins which regulate AANAT and ASMT activities) and post-transcriptional (increased levels of miR-451, targeting 14-3-3ζ) mechanisms to these impairments. This study thus gives insights into the pathophysiological pathways involved in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-02152-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5437096PMC
May 2017

Zinc deficiency and low enterocyte zinc transporter expression in human patients with autism related mutations in SHANK3.

Sci Rep 2017 03 27;7:45190. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany.

Phelan McDermid Syndrome (PMDS) is a genetic disorder characterized by features of Autism spectrum disorders. Similar to reports of Zn deficiency in autistic children, we have previously reported high incidence of Zn deficiency in PMDS. However, the underlying mechanisms are currently not well understood. Here, using inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry to measure the concentration of Zinc (Zn) and Copper (Cu) in hair samples from individuals with PMDS with 22q13.3 deletion including SHANK3 (SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 3), we report a high rate of abnormally low Zn/Cu ratios. To investigate possible underlying mechanisms, we generated enterocytes from PMDS patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and used Caco-2 cells with knockdown of SHANK3. We detected decreased expression of Zn uptake transporters ZIP2 and ZIP4 on mRNA and protein level correlating with SHANK3 expression levels, and found reduced levels of ZIP4 protein co-localizing with SHANK3 at the plasma membrane. We demonstrated that especially ZIP4 exists in a complex with SHANK3. Furthermore, we performed immunohistochemistry on gut sections from Shank3αβ knockout mice and confirmed a link between enterocytic SHANK3, ZIP2 and ZIP4. We conclude that apart from its well-known role in the CNS, SHANK3 might play a specific role in the GI tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep45190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5366950PMC
March 2017

A de novo microdeletion of SEMA5A in a boy with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability.

Eur J Hum Genet 2016 06 23;24(6):838-43. Epub 2015 Sep 23.

Laboratoire de Cytogénétique, Plateau technique de Biologie, CHU Dijon, Dijon, France.

Semaphorins are a large family of secreted and membrane-associated proteins necessary for wiring of the brain. Semaphorin 5A (SEMA5A) acts as a bifunctional guidance cue, exerting both attractive and inhibitory effects on developing axons. Previous studies have suggested that SEMA5A could be a susceptibility gene for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We first identified a de novo translocation t(5;22)(p15.3;q11.21) in a patient with ASD and intellectual disability (ID). At the translocation breakpoint on chromosome 5, we observed a 861-kb deletion encompassing the end of the SEMA5A gene. We delineated the breakpoint by NGS and observed that no gene was disrupted on chromosome 22. We then used Sanger sequencing to search for deleterious variants affecting SEMA5A in 142 patients with ASD. We also identified two independent heterozygous variants located in a conserved functional domain of the protein. Both variants were maternally inherited and predicted as deleterious. Our genetic screens identified the first case of a de novo SEMA5A microdeletion in a patient with ASD and ID. Although our study alone cannot formally associate SEMA5A with susceptibility to ASD, it provides additional evidence that Semaphorin dysfunction could lead to ASD and ID. Further studies on Semaphorins are warranted to better understand the role of this family of genes in susceptibility to neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2015.211DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867450PMC
June 2016

11q24.2-25 micro-rearrangements in autism spectrum disorders: Relation to brain structures.

Am J Med Genet A 2015 Dec 3;167A(12):3019-30. Epub 2015 Sep 3.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Jacobsen syndrome (JS) is characterized by intellectual disability and higher risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). All patients with JS are carriers of contiguous de novo deletions of 11q24.2-25, but the causative genes remain unknown. Within the critical interval, we hypothesized that haploinsufficiency of the neuronal cell adhesion molecule Neurotrimin (NTM) might increase the risk for ASD and could affect brain structure volumes. We searched for deleterious mutations affecting NTM in 1256 ASD patients and 1287 controls, using SNP arrays, and by direct sequencing of 250 ASD patients and 180 controls. We compared our results to those obtained from independent cohorts of ASD patients and controls. We identified two patients with Copy Number Variants (CNV) encompassing NTM, one with a large de novo deletion, and a clinical phenotype of JS (including macrocephaly), and a second with a paternally inherited duplication, not consistent with JS. Interestingly, no similar CNVs were observed in controls. We did not observe enrichment for deleterious NTM mutations in our cohort. We then explored if the macrocephaly in the patient with JS was associated with a homogeneous increase of brain structures volumes using automatic segmentation. Compared to subjects without NTM micro-rearrangements (n=188), the patient had an increased volume of the sub-cortical structures but a decrease of the occipital gray matter. Finally our explorations could not incriminate NTM as a susceptibility gene for ASD, but provides new information on the impact of the 11q24.2-25 deletion on brain anatomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.37345DOI Listing
December 2015

Meta-analysis of SHANK Mutations in Autism Spectrum Disorders: a gradient of severity in cognitive impairments.

PLoS Genet 2014 Sep 4;10(9):e1004580. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Département de Génétique et de Cytogénétique, Unité fonctionnelle de génétique clinique, Paris, France; Centre de Référence "Déficiences intellectuelles de causes rares", Paris, France and Groupe de Recherche Clinique "Déficience intellectuelle et autisme", UPMC, Paris, France; Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Armand Trousseau, Service de Neuropédiatrie, Paris, France.

SHANK genes code for scaffold proteins located at the post-synaptic density of glutamatergic synapses. In neurons, SHANK2 and SHANK3 have a positive effect on the induction and maturation of dendritic spines, whereas SHANK1 induces the enlargement of spine heads. Mutations in SHANK genes have been associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but their prevalence and clinical relevance remain to be determined. Here, we performed a new screen and a meta-analysis of SHANK copy-number and coding-sequence variants in ASD. Copy-number variants were analyzed in 5,657 patients and 19,163 controls, coding-sequence variants were ascertained in 760 to 2,147 patients and 492 to 1,090 controls (depending on the gene), and, individuals carrying de novo or truncating SHANK mutations underwent an extensive clinical investigation. Copy-number variants and truncating mutations in SHANK genes were present in ∼1% of patients with ASD: mutations in SHANK1 were rare (0.04%) and present in males with normal IQ and autism; mutations in SHANK2 were present in 0.17% of patients with ASD and mild intellectual disability; mutations in SHANK3 were present in 0.69% of patients with ASD and up to 2.12% of the cases with moderate to profound intellectual disability. In summary, mutations of the SHANK genes were detected in the whole spectrum of autism with a gradient of severity in cognitive impairment. Given the rare frequency of SHANK1 and SHANK2 deleterious mutations, the clinical relevance of these genes remains to be ascertained. In contrast, the frequency and the penetrance of SHANK3 mutations in individuals with ASD and intellectual disability-more than 1 in 50-warrant its consideration for mutation screening in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004580DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154644PMC
September 2014

Heterogeneous pattern of selective pressure for PRRT2 in human populations, but no association with autism spectrum disorders.

PLoS One 2014 3;9(3):e88600. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France; CNRS URA 2182 'Genes, synapses and cognition', Institut Pasteur, Paris, France; University Denis Diderot Paris 7, Paris, France; Fondation FondaMental, Créteil, France.

Inherited and de novo genomic imbalances at chromosome 16p11.2 are associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but the causative genes remain unknown. Among the genes located in this region, PRRT2 codes for a member of the synaptic SNARE complex that allows the release of synaptic vesicles. PRRT2 is a candidate gene for ASD since homozygote mutations are associated with intellectual disability and heterozygote mutations cause benign infantile seizures, paroxysmal dyskinesia, or hemiplegic migraine. Here, we explored the contribution of PRRT2 mutations in ASD by screening its coding part in a large sample of 1578 individuals including 431 individuals with ASD, 186 controls and 961 individuals from the human genome Diversity Panel. We detected 24 nonsynonymous variants, 1 frameshift (A217PfsX8) and 1 in-frame deletion of 6 bp (p.A361_P362del). The frameshift mutation was observed in a control with no history of neurological or psychiatric disorders. The p.A361_P362del was observed in two individuals with autism from sub-Saharan African origin. Overall, the frequency of PRRT2 deleterious variants was not different between individuals with ASD and controls. Remarkably, PRRT2 displays a highly significant excess of nonsynonymous (pN) vs synonymous (pS) mutations in Asia (pN/pS = 4.85) and Europe (pN/pS = 1.62) compared with Africa (pN/pS = 0.26; Asia vs Africa: P = 0.000087; Europe vs Africa P = 0.00035; Europe vs Asia P = P = 0.084). We also showed that whole genome amplification performed through rolling cycle amplification could artificially introduce the A217PfsX8 mutation indicating that this technology should not be performed prior to PRRT2 mutation screening. In summary, our results do not support a role for PRRT2 coding sequence variants in ASD, but provide an ascertainment of its genetic variability in worldwide populations that should help researchers and clinicians to better investigate the role of PRRT2 in human diseases.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0088600PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940422PMC
January 2015

Common variants in genes of the postsynaptic FMRP signalling pathway are risk factors for autism spectrum disorders.

Hum Genet 2014 Jun 19;133(6):781-92. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Deutschordenstraße 50, 60528, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are heterogeneous disorders with a high heritability and complex genetic architecture. Due to the central role of the fragile X mental retardation gene 1 protein (FMRP) pathway in ASD we investigated common functional variants of ASD risk genes regulating FMRP. We genotyped ten SNPs in two German patient sets (N = 192 and N = 254 families, respectively) and report association for rs7170637 (CYFIP1; set 1 and combined sets), rs6923492 (GRM1; combined sets), and rs25925 (CAMK4; combined sets). An additional risk score based on variants with an odds ratio (OR) >1.25 in set 1 and weighted by their respective log transmitted/untransmitted ratio revealed a significant effect (OR 1.30, 95 % CI 1.11-1.53; P = 0.0013) in the combined German sample. A subsequent meta-analysis including the two German samples, the "Strict/European" ASD subsample of the Autism Genome Project (1,466 families) and a French case/control (541/366) cohort showed again association of rs7170637-A (OR 0.85, 95 % CI 0.75-0.96; P = 0.007) and rs25925-G (OR 1.31, 95 % CI 1.04-1.64; P = 0.021) with ASD. Functional analyses revealed that these minor alleles predicted to alter splicing factor binding sites significantly increase levels of an alternative mRNA isoform of the respective gene while keeping the overall expression of the gene constant. These findings underpin the role of ASD candidate genes in postsynaptic FMRP regulation suggesting that an imbalance of specific isoforms of CYFIP1, an FMRP interaction partner, and CAMK4, a transcriptional regulator of the FMRP gene, modulates ASD risk. Both gene products are related to neuronal regulation of synaptic plasticity, a pathomechanism underlying ASD and may thus present future targets for pharmacological therapies in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-013-1416-yDOI Listing
June 2014

Heterozygous FA2H mutations in autism spectrum disorders.

BMC Med Genet 2013 Dec 3;14:124. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2350-14-124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219428PMC
December 2013

The emerging role of SHANK genes in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dev Neurobiol 2014 Feb 7;74(2):113-22. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France; CNRS URA 2182 'Genes, Synapses and Cognition,' Institut Pasteur, Paris, France; Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.

The genetic heterogeneity of neuropsychiatric disorders is high, but some pathways emerged, notably synaptic functioning. A large number of mutations have been described in genes such as neuroligins, neurexins, and SHANK that play a role in the formation and the maintenance of synapses. This review focuses on the disorders associated with mutations in SHANK3 and the other members of its family, SHANK1 and SHANK2. SHANKs are scaffolding proteins of the postsynaptic density of glutamatergic synapses. SHANK3 has been described in the Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS), but also in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia associated to moderate to severe intellectual disability (ID) and poor language. The evolution of patients with PMS includes symptoms of bipolar disorder and regression. SHANK2 has been identified in patients with ASD with mild to severe ID. SHANK1 has been associated with high-functioning autism in male patients, while carrier females only display anxiety and shyness. Finally, based on neuropathological findings in animal models and patients, a possible role of SHANK in Alzheimer's disease is discussed. Altogether, this review describes the clinical trajectories associated with different mutations of the SHANK genes and provides information to further investigate the role of the SHANK genes in neuropsychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dneu.22128DOI Listing
February 2014

The genetic landscapes of autism spectrum disorders.

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2013 22;14:191-213. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Institut Pasteur, 75015 Paris, France; email:

The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in social interaction and stereotyped behaviors. For the majority of individuals with ASD, the causes of the disorder remain unknown; however, in up to 25% of cases, a genetic cause can be identified. Chromosomal rearrangements as well as rare and de novo copy-number variants are present in ∼10-20% of individuals with ASD, compared with 1-2% in the general population and/or unaffected siblings. Rare and de novo coding-sequence mutations affecting neuronal genes have also been identified in ∼5-10% of individuals with ASD. Common variants such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms seem to contribute to ASD susceptibility, but, taken individually, their effects appear to be small. Despite a heterogeneous genetic landscape, the genes implicated thus far-which are involved in chromatin remodeling, metabolism, mRNA translation, and synaptic function-seem to converge in common pathways affecting neuronal and synaptic homeostasis. Animal models developed to study these genes should lead to a better understanding of the diversity of the genetic landscapes of ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genom-091212-153431DOI Listing
December 2013

Crystal structure and functional mapping of human ASMT, the last enzyme of the melatonin synthesis pathway.

J Pineal Res 2013 Jan 9;54(1):46-57. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Institut Pasteur, Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit, Paris, France CNRS URA 2182 'Genes, synapses and cognition', Institut Pasteur, Paris, France University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Paris, France Synchrotron SOLEIL, L'Orme des Merisiers, Saint Aubin BP48, Gif-sur-Yvette, France Institut Pasteur, Plate forme 5, 25 rue Dr. Roux, Paris, France Institut Pasteur, Plate forme 6, CNRS-UMR3528, 25 rue Dr. Roux, Paris, France Institute for Anatomy III, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.

Melatonin is a synchronizer of many physiological processes. Abnormal melatonin signaling is associated with human disorders related to sleep, metabolism, and neurodevelopment. Here, we present the X-ray crystal structure of human N-acetyl serotonin methyltransferase (ASMT), the last enzyme of the melatonin biosynthesis pathway. The polypeptide chain of ASMT consists of a C-terminal domain, which is typical of other SAM-dependent O-methyltransferases, and an N-terminal domain, which intertwines several helices with another monomer to form the physiologically active dimer. Using radioenzymology, we analyzed 20 nonsynonymous variants identified through the 1000 genomes project and in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. We found that the majority of these mutations reduced or abolished ASMT activity including one relatively frequent polymorphism in the Han Chinese population (N17K, rs17149149). Overall, we estimate that the allelic frequency of ASMT deleterious mutations ranges from 0.66% in Europe to 2.97% in Asia. Mapping of the variants on to the 3-dimensional structure clarifies why some are harmful and provides a structural basis for understanding melatonin deficiency in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079X.2012.01020.xDOI Listing
January 2013

SHANK1 Deletions in Males with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 May 12;90(5):879-87. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

The Centre for Applied Genomics and Program in Genetics and Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Recent studies have highlighted the involvement of rare (<1% frequency) copy-number variations and point mutations in the genetic etiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); these variants particularly affect genes involved in the neuronal synaptic complex. The SHANK gene family consists of three members (SHANK1, SHANK2, and SHANK3), which encode scaffolding proteins required for the proper formation and function of neuronal synapses. Although SHANK2 and SHANK3 mutations have been implicated in ASD and intellectual disability, the involvement of SHANK1 is unknown. Here, we assess microarray data from 1,158 Canadian and 456 European individuals with ASD to discover microdeletions at the SHANK1 locus on chromosome 19. We identify a hemizygous SHANK1 deletion that segregates in a four-generation family in which male carriers--but not female carriers--have ASD with higher functioning. A de novo SHANK1 deletion was also detected in an unrelated male individual with ASD with higher functioning, and no equivalent SHANK1 mutations were found in >15,000 controls (p = 0.009). The discovery of apparent reduced penetrance of ASD in females bearing inherited autosomal SHANK1 deletions provides a possible contributory model for the male gender bias in autism. The data are also informative for clinical-genetics interpretations of both inherited and sporadic forms of ASD involving SHANK1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.03.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3376495PMC
May 2012

Genetic and functional analyses of SHANK2 mutations suggest a multiple hit model of autism spectrum disorders.

PLoS Genet 2012 Feb 9;8(2):e1002521. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders with a complex inheritance pattern. While many rare variants in synaptic proteins have been identified in patients with ASD, little is known about their effects at the synapse and their interactions with other genetic variations. Here, following the discovery of two de novo SHANK2 deletions by the Autism Genome Project, we identified a novel 421 kb de novo SHANK2 deletion in a patient with autism. We then sequenced SHANK2 in 455 patients with ASD and 431 controls and integrated these results with those reported by Berkel et al. 2010 (n = 396 patients and n = 659 controls). We observed a significant enrichment of variants affecting conserved amino acids in 29 of 851 (3.4%) patients and in 16 of 1,090 (1.5%) controls (P = 0.004, OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.23-4.70). In neuronal cell cultures, the variants identified in patients were associated with a reduced synaptic density at dendrites compared to the variants only detected in controls (P = 0.0013). Interestingly, the three patients with de novo SHANK2 deletions also carried inherited CNVs at 15q11-q13 previously associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. In two cases, the nicotinic receptor CHRNA7 was duplicated and in one case the synaptic translation repressor CYFIP1 was deleted. These results strengthen the role of synaptic gene dysfunction in ASD but also highlight the presence of putative modifier genes, which is in keeping with the "multiple hit model" for ASD. A better knowledge of these genetic interactions will be necessary to understand the complex inheritance pattern of ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002521DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276563PMC
February 2012

Genetic variations of the melatonin pathway in patients with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

J Pineal Res 2011 Nov 26;51(4):394-9. Epub 2011 May 26.

Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and a synchronizer of many physiological processes. Alteration in melatonin signaling has been reported in a broad range of diseases, but little is known about the genetic variability of this pathway in humans. Here, we sequenced all the genes of the melatonin pathway -AA-NAT, ASMT, MTNR1A, MTNR1B and GPR50 - in 321 individuals from Sweden including 101 patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 220 controls from the general population. We could find several damaging mutations in patients with ADHD, but no significant enrichment compared with the general population. Among these variations, we found a splice site mutation in ASMT (IVS5+2T>C) and one stop mutation in MTNR1A (Y170X) - detected exclusively in patients with ADHD - for which biochemical analyses indicated that they abolish the activity of ASMT and MTNR1A. These genetic and functional results represent the first comprehensive ascertainment of melatonin signaling deficiency in ADHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079X.2011.00902.xDOI Listing
November 2011