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Pinto D.,Applied Genomics | Pagnamenta A.T.,University of Oxford | Klei L.,University of Pittsburgh | Anney R.,Trinity College Dublin | And 178 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2010

The autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of conditions characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviours 1. Individuals with an ASD vary greatly in cognitive development, which can range from above average to intellectual disability2. Although ASDs are known to be highly heritable ( ∼90%)3, the underlying genetic determinants are still largely unknown.Hereweanalysed the genome-wide characteristics of rare (<1%frequency) copy number variation in ASD using dense genotyping arrays. When comparing 996 ASD individuals of European ancestry to 1,287 matched controls, cases were found to carry a higher global burden of rare, genic copy number variants (CNVs) (1.19 fold, P=0.012), especially so for loci previously implicated in either ASDand/or intellectual disability (1.69 fold, P=3.4×310-4). Among the CNVs there were numerous de novo and inherited events, sometimes in combination in a given family, implicating many novel ASD genes such as SHANK2, SYNGAP1, DLGAP2 and the X-linked DDX53-PTCHD1 locus. We also discovered an enrichment of CNVs disrupting functional gene sets involved in cellular proliferation, projection and motility, and GTPase/Ras signalling. Our results reveal many new genetic and functional targets in ASD that may lead to final connected pathways. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Anney R.,Trinity College Dublin | Klei L.,University of Pittsburgh | Pinto D.,University of Toronto | Pinto D.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | And 144 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2012

While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.


Casey J.P.,University College Dublin | Magalhaes T.,Instituto Nacional Of Saude Dr Ricardo Jorge | Magalhaes T.,Bio Center for Biodiversity | Magalhaes T.,Instituto Gulbenkian Of Ciencia | And 132 more authors.
Human Genetics | Year: 2012

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data. © The Author(s) 2011.


Anney R.,Trinity College Dublin | Klei L.,University of Pittsburgh | Pinto D.,University of Toronto | Regan R.,University College Dublin | And 166 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2010

Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have a substantial genetic basis, most of the known genetic risk has been traced to rare variants, principally copy number variants (CNVs). To identify common risk variation, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium genotyped 1558 rigorously defined ASD families for 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyzed these SNP genotypes for association with ASD. In one of four primary association analyses, the association signal for marker rs4141463, located within MACROD2, crossed the genome-wide association significance threshold of P < 5 3 10-28. When a smaller replication sample was analyzed, the risk allele at rs4141463 was again over-transmitted; yet, consistent with the winner's curse, its effect size in the replication sample was much smaller; and, for the combined samples, the association signal barely fell below the P < 5 × 10-28 threshold. Exploratory analyses of phenotypic subtypes yielded no significant associations after correction for multiple testing. They did, however, yield strong signals within several genes, KIAA0564, PLD5, POU6F2, ST8SIA2 and TAF1C. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Barros P.,National Health Institute Dr Ricardo Jorge | Barros P.,Bio Center for Biodiversity | Lam E.W.-F.,Imperial College London | Jordan P.,National Health Institute Dr Ricardo Jorge | And 3 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2012

Gene expression depends on binding of transcriptional regulators to gene promoters, a process controlled by signalling pathways. The transcriptional repressor B-cell lymphoma (BCL)-6 downregulates genes involved in cell-cycle progression and becomes inactivated following phosphorylation by the Rac1 GTPase-activated protein kinase PAK1. Interestingly, the DNA motifs recognized by BCL-6 and signal transducers and activators of transcription 5 (STAT5) are similar. Because STAT5 stimulation in epithelial cells can also be triggered by Rac1 signalling, we asked whether both factors have opposing roles in transcriptional regulation and whether Rac1 signalling may coordinate a transcription factor switch. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation to show that active Rac1 promotes release of the repressor BCL-6 while increasing binding of STAT5A to a BCL-6-regulated reporter gene. We further show in colorectal cell lines that the endogenous activation status of the Rac1/PAK1 pathway correlated with the phosphorylation status of BCL-6 and STAT5A. Three cellular genes (cyclin D2, p15INK4B, small ubiquitin-like modifier 1) were identified to be inversely regulated by BCL-6 and STAT5A and responded to Rac1 signalling with increased expression and corresponding changes in promoter occupancy. Together, our data show that Rac1 signalling controls a group of target genes that are repressed by BCL-6 and activated by STAT5A, providing novel insights into the modulation of gene transcription by GTPase signalling. © 2012 The Author(s).


Buxbaum J.D.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Bolshakova N.,Trinity College Dublin | Brownfeld J.M.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Anney R.J.L.,Trinity College Dublin | And 23 more authors.
Molecular Autism | Year: 2014

Background: There is an urgent need for expanding and enhancing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples, in order to better understand causes of ASD. Methods. In a unique public-private partnership, 13 sites with extensive experience in both the assessment and diagnosis of ASD embarked on an ambitious, 2-year program to collect samples for genetic and phenotypic research and begin analyses on these samples. The program was called The Autism Simplex Collection (TASC). TASC sample collection began in 2008 and was completed in 2010, and included nine sites from North America and four sites from Western Europe, as well as a centralized Data Coordinating Center. Results: Over 1,700 trios are part of this collection, with DNA from transformed cells now available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) measures are available for all probands, as are standardized IQ measures, Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), and physical measures (height, weight, and head circumference). At almost every site, additional phenotypic measures were collected, including the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) and Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), as well as the non-word repetition scale, Communication Checklist (Children's or Adult), and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). Moreover, for nearly 1,000 trios, the Autism Genome Project Consortium (AGP) has carried out Illumina 1 M SNP genotyping and called copy number variation (CNV) in the samples, with data being made available through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whole exome sequencing (WES) has been carried out in over 500 probands, together with ancestry matched controls, and this data is also available through the NIH. Additional WES is being carried out by the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), where the focus is on sequencing complete trios. ASC sequencing for the first 1,000 samples (all from whole-blood DNA) is complete and data will be released in 2014. Data is being made available through NIH databases (database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) and National Database for Autism Research (NDAR)) with DNA released in Dist 11.0. Primary funding for the collection, genotyping, sequencing and distribution of TASC samples was provided by Autism Speaks and the NIH, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Human Genetics Research Institute (NHGRI). Conclusions: TASC represents an important sample set that leverages expert sites. Similar approaches, leveraging expert sites and ongoing studies, represent an important path towards further enhancing available ASD samples. © 2014 Buxbaum et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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