Analysis of the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor gene in Italian patients with autism spectrum disorders

G. Seidita, M. Mirisola, R. P. D'Anna, A. Gallo, R. T. Jensen, S. A. Mantey, N. Gonzalez, M. Falco, M. Zingale, M. Elia, L. Cucina, V. Chiavetta, V. Romano, F. Cali

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The gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) was implicated for the first time in the pathogenesis of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by Ishikawa-Brush et al. [Ishikawa-Brush et al. (1997): Hum Mol Genet 6: 1241-1250]. Since this original observation, only one association study [Marui et al. (2004): Brain Dev 26: 5-7] has further investigated, though unsuccessfully, the involvement of the GRPR gene in ASD. With the aim of contributing further information to this topic we have sequenced the entire coding region and the intron/exon junctions of the GRPR gene in 149 Italian autistic patients. The results of this study led to the identification of four novel point mutations, two of which, that is, C6S and L181F, involve amino acid changes identified in two patients with ASD and Rett syndrome, respectively. Both the leucine at position 181 and the cysteine at position 6 are strongly conserved in vertebrates. C6S and L181F mutant proteins were expressed in COS-7 and BALB/3T3 cells, but they did not affect either GRP's binding affinity or its potency for stimulating phospholipase C-mediated production of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. In summary, our results do not provide support for a major role of the GRPR gene in ASD in the population of patients we have studied. However, there is a potential role of C6S and L181F mutations on GRPR function, and possibly in the pathogenesis of the autistic disorders in the two patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-813
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 5 2008


  • Association study
  • Autism
  • G-protein-coupled receptor
  • Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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