Autism gene Ube3a and seizures impair sociability by repressing VTA Cbln1
Stoppel, David C.
Teng, Brian L.
Cruz, Tristan J.
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CitationKrishnan, V., D. C. Stoppel, Y. Nong, M. A. Johnson, M. J. Nadler, E. Ozkaynak, B. L. Teng, et al. 2017. “Autism gene Ube3a and seizures impair sociability by repressing VTA Cbln1.” Nature 543 (7646): 507-512. doi:10.1038/nature21678. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21678.
AbstractSummary Maternally inherited 15q11-13 chromosomal triplications cause a frequent and highly penetrant autism linked to increased gene dosages of UBE3A, which both possesses ubiquitin-ligase and transcriptional co-regulatory functions. Here, using in vivo mouse genetics, we show that increasing UBE3A in the nucleus down-regulates glutamatergic synapse organizer cerebellin-1 (Cbln1) that is needed for sociability in mice. Epileptic seizures also repress Cbln1 and are found to expose sociability impairments in mice with asymptomatic increases of UBE3A. This Ube3a-seizure synergy maps to glutamate neurons of the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) where Cbln1 deletions impair sociability and weaken glutamatergic transmission. We provide preclinical evidence that viral-vector-based chemogenetic activations of, or Cbln1 restorations in VTA glutamatergic neurons rescues sociability deficits induced by Ube3a and/or seizures. Our results suggest a gene × seizure interaction in VTA glutamatergic neurons that impairs sociability by downregulating Cbln1, a key node in the expanding protein interaction network of autism genes.
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