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Tissue and cell-type specific molecular and functional signatures of 16p11.2 reciprocal genomic disorder across mouse brain and human neuronal models

bioRxiv 2022
Tai DJC, et al

Derek J.C. Tai, Parisa Razaz, Serkan Erdin, Dadi Gao, Jennifer Wang, Xander Nuttle, Celine E. de Esch, Ryan L Collins, Benjamin B. Currall, Kathryn O’Keefe, Nicholas D. Burt, Rachita Yadav, Lily Wang, Kiana Mohajeri, Tatsiana Aneichyk, Ashok Ragavendran, Alexei Stortchevoi, Elisabetta Morini, Weiyuan Ma, Diane Lucente, Alex Hastie, Raymond J. Kelleher, Roy H. Perlis,  View ORCID ProfileMichael E. Talkowski, James F. Gusella.

Recurrent deletion and duplication of ∼743 kilobases of unique genomic sequence and segmental duplications at chromosome 16p11.2 underlie a reciprocal genomic disorder (RGD; OMIM 611913 and 614671) associated with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric phenotypes, including intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). To define molecular alterations associated with the 16p11.2 RGD, we performed transcriptome analyses of mice with reciprocal copy number variants (CNVs) of the syntenic chromosome 7qF3 region and human neuronal models derived from isogenic human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) carrying CRISPR-engineered CNVs at 16p11.2. Analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in mouse cortex, striatum, cerebellum and three non-brain tissues, as well as in human neural stem cells and induced glutamatergic neurons revealed that the strongest and most consistent effects occurred within the CNV sequence, with notable instances of differential expression of genes in the immediate vicinity that could reflect position effect. While differential expression of genes outside of chromosome 16p11.2 was largely region, tissue, and cell type-specific, a small but significant minority of such DEGs was shared between brain regions or human cell types. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analyses to identify cellular processes dysregulated due to these CNVs found support in select circumstances for terms related to energy metabolism, RNA metabolism, and translation but did not reveal a single universally affected process. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis identified modules that showed significant correlation with reciprocal or individual CNV genotype and better captured shared effects, indicating that energy metabolism, RNA metabolism, translation and protein targeting were disrupted across all three brain regions. The first two of these processes also emerged in the human neural stem cell (NSC) data. A subset of co-expression modules that correlated with CNV genotype revealed significant enrichments for known neurodevelopmental disorder genes, loss-of-function constrained genes, FMRP targets, and chromatin modifiers. Intriguingly, neuronal differentiation of the hiPSCs revealed that both the deletion and duplication CNV resulted in similar deficits in neurite extension and branching and alterations in electrical activity. Finally, generation of cerebral organoid derivatives indicated that the CNVs reciprocally altered the ratio of excitatory and inhibitory GABAergic neurons generated during in vitro neurodevelopment, consistent with a major mechanistic hypothesis for ASD. Collectively, our data suggest that the 16p11.2 RGD involves disruption of multiple biological processes, with a relative impact that is context-specific. Perturbation of individual and multiple genes within the CNV region will be required to dissect single-gene effects, uncover regulatory interactions, and define how each contributes to abnormal neurodevelopment.

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