Examining paternal transmissions only, we found marginal evidence for LD with a protective allele at marker D15S11 in the ASD families (Chi-sq 7 df, P = 0.05) and marginal evidence for risk alleles at markers D15S1506 (Chi-sq 13.7, 6 df, P = 0.06), GABRB3 (Chi-sq 15.9, 8 df, P = 0.11) and D15S1002 (Chi-sq 17.7, 9 df, P = 0.08) in the autism only families.
Examples of such intergenic CNV regions include 16q21 and 2p16.3 near known ASD risk genes CDH8 and NRXN1 respectively, as well as novel loci contiguous with ZHX2, MOCS1, LRRC4C, SEMA3C, and other genes.
Copy number variants (CNVs) and intragenic rearrangements of the NRXN1 (neurexin 1) gene are associated with a wide spectrum of developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, including intellectual disability, speech delay, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), hypotonia and schizophrenia.
The two deletions upstream of the NRXN1 gene were found to segregate with psychiatric disorders in the family and further similar deletions have been observed in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Assessment of the clinical details in 25 previously undescribed individuals with NRXN1 exonic deletions demonstrated recurrent phenotypic features consisting of moderate to severe intellectual disability (91%), severe language delay (81%), autism spectrum disorder (65%), seizures (43%), and hypotonia (38%).
Heterozygous copy-number and missense variants in CNTNAP2 and NRXN1 have repeatedly been associated with a wide spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders such as developmental language and autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy and schizophrenia.
We estimate there are 130-234 ASD-related CNV regions in the human genome and present compelling evidence, based on cumulative data, for association of rare de novo events at 7q11.23, 15q11.2-13.1, 16p11.2, and Neurexin 1.
Since this represents one of the core symptom domains affected in autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia in humans, our findings suggest that deletions within NRXN1 found in patients may be responsible for the impairments seen in social behaviours, and that the Nrxn1α KO mice are a useful model of human neurodevelopmental disorder.
Several large-scale genomic studies have supported an association between cases of autism spectrum disorder and mutations in the genes SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains protein 1 (SHANK1), SHANK2 and SHANK3, which encode a family of postsynaptic scaffolding proteins that are present at glutamatergic synapses in the CNS.
The SHANK3 gene encoding core scaffolding proteins at glutamatergic postsynapse is a typical dosage-sensitive gene, both deletions and duplications of which are associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, intellectual disability, or schizophrenia.