Functional annotation of genes overlapping copy number variants in autistic patients: Focus on axon pathfinding

Silvia Sbacchi, Francesco Acquadro, Ignazio Calò, Francesco Calì, Valentino Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We have used Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway analyses to uncover the common functions associated to the genes overlapping Copy Number Variants (CNVs) in autistic patients. Our source of data were four published studies [1-4]. We first applied a two-step enrichment strategy for autism-specific genes. We fished out from the four mentioned studies a list of 2928 genes overall overlapping 328 CNVs in patients and we first selected a sub-group of 2044 genes after excluding those ones that are also involved in CNVs reported in the Database of Genomic Variants (enrichment step 1). We then selected from the step 1-enriched list a sub-group of 514 genes each of which was found to be deleted or duplicated in at least two patients (enrichment step 2). The number of statistically significant processes and pathways identified by the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis softwares with the step 2-enriched list was significantly higher compared to the step 1-enriched list. In addition, statistically significant GO terms, biofunctions and pathways related to nervous system development and function were exclusively identified by the step 2-enriched list of genes. Interestingly, 21 genes were associated to axon growth and pathfinding. The latter genes and other ones associated to nervous system in this study represent a new set of autism candidate genes deserving further investigation. In summary, our results suggest that the autism's "connectivity genes" in some patients affect very early phases of neurodevelopment, i.e., earlier than synaptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Genomics
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Axon guidance signalling
  • Candidate genes
  • Copy number variants
  • Gene ontology
  • Neurodevelopment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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