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CNTN5-/+ or EHMT2-/+ iPSC-Derived Neurons from Individuals with Autism Develop Hyperactive Neuronal Networks

By Eric Deneault, Muhammad Faheem, Sean H White, Deivid C Rodrigues, Song Sun, Wei Wei, Alina Piekna, Tadeo Thompson, Jennifer L Howe, Leon Chalil, Vickie Kwan, Susan Walker, Peter Pasceri, Frederick P. Roth, Ryan KC Yuen, Karun K Singh, James Ellis, Stephen W. Scherer

Posted 14 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/368928

Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cortical neurons are increasingly used as a model to study developmental aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is clinically and genetically heterogeneous. To study the complex relationship of rare (penetrant) variant(s) and common (weaker) polygenic risk variant(s) to ASD, isogenic iPSC-derived neurons from probands and family-based controls, for modeling, is critical. We developed a standardized set of procedures, designed to control for heterogeneity in reprogramming and differentiation, and generated 53 different iPSC-derived glutamatergic neuronal lines from 25 participants from 12 unrelated families with ASD (14 ASD-affected individuals, 3 unaffected siblings, 8 unaffected parents). Heterozygous de novo (7 families; 16p11.2, NRXN1, DLGAP2, CAPRIN1, VIP, ANOS1, THRA) and rare-inherited (2 families; CNTN5, AGBL4) presumed-damaging variants were characterized in ASD risk genes/loci. In three additional families, functional candidates for ASD (SET), and combinations of putative etiologic variants (GLI3/KIF21A and EHMT2/UBE2I combinations in separate families), were modeled. We used a large-scale multi-electrode array (MEA) as our primary high-throughput phenotyping assay, followed by patch clamp recordings. Our most compelling new results revealed a consistent spontaneous network hyperactivity in neurons deficient for CNTN5 or EHMT2. Our biobank of iPSC-derived neurons and accompanying genomic data are available to accelerate ASD research.

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