Network effects of the neuropsychiatric 15q13.3 microdeletion on the transcriptome and epigenome in human induced neurons
Heterozygous deletions in the 15q13.3 region are associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Several genes within the 15q13.3 deletion region may play a role in neuronal dysfunction, based on association studies in humans and functional studies in mice, but the intermediate molecular mechanisms remain unknown. We analyzed the genome-wide effects of the 15q13.3 microdeletion on the transcriptome and epigenome. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from three patients with the typical heterozygous 15q13.3 microdeletion and three sex-matched controls were generated and converted into induced neurons (iNs) using the neurogenin-2 induction method. We analyzed genome-wide gene expression using RNA-Seq, genome-wide DNA methylation using SeqCap-Epi, and genome-wide chromatin accessibility using ATAC-Seq, in both iPSCs and iNs. In both cell types, gene copy number change within the 15q13.3 microdeletion was accompanied by significantly decreased gene expression and no compensatory changes in DNA methylation or chromatin accessibility, supporting the model that haploinsufficiency of genes within the deleted region drives the disorder. Further, we observed global effects of the deletion on the transcriptome and epigenome, with the effects being cell type specific and occurring at discrete loci. Several genes and pathways associated with neuropsychiatric disorders and neuronal development were significantly altered, including Wnt signaling, ribosome biogenesis, DNA binding, and clustered protocadherins. This molecular systems analysis of a large neuropsychiatric microdeletion can also be applied to other brain relevant chromosomal aberrations to further our etiological understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders.
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