Many mutations in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affect a single allele, indicating a key role for gene dosage in ASD susceptibility. Recently, haplo-insufficiency of ITGB3, the gene encoding the extracellular matrix receptor β3 integrin, was associated with ASD. Accordingly, Itgb3 knockout (KO) mice exhibit autism-like phenotypes. The pathophysiological mechanisms of Itgb3 remain, however, unknown, and the potential of targeting this gene for developing ASD therapies uninvestigated. By combining molecular, biochemical, imaging, and pharmacological analyses, we establish that Itgb3 haplo-insufficiency impairs cortical network excitability by promoting extra-synaptic over synaptic signaling of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR5, which is similarly dysregulated in fragile X syndrome, the most frequent monogenic form of ASD. To assess the therapeutic potential of regulating Itgb3 gene dosage, we implemented CRISPR activation and compared its efficacy with that of a pharmacological rescue strategy for fragile X syndrome. Correction of neuronal Itgb3 haplo-insufficiency by CRISPR activation rebalanced network excitability as effectively as blockade of mGluR5 with the selective antagonist MPEP. Our findings reveal an unexpected functional interaction between two ASD genes, thereby validating the pathogenicity of ITGB3 haplo-insufficiency. Further, they pave the way for exploiting CRISPR activation as gene therapy for normalizing gene dosage and network excitability in ASD.

CRISPR-mediated activation of autism gene Itgb3 restores cortical network excitability via mGluR5 signaling

Jaudon, Fanny;Thalhammer, Agnes;Zentilin, Lorena;Cingolani, Lorenzo A
2022-01-01

Abstract

Many mutations in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affect a single allele, indicating a key role for gene dosage in ASD susceptibility. Recently, haplo-insufficiency of ITGB3, the gene encoding the extracellular matrix receptor β3 integrin, was associated with ASD. Accordingly, Itgb3 knockout (KO) mice exhibit autism-like phenotypes. The pathophysiological mechanisms of Itgb3 remain, however, unknown, and the potential of targeting this gene for developing ASD therapies uninvestigated. By combining molecular, biochemical, imaging, and pharmacological analyses, we establish that Itgb3 haplo-insufficiency impairs cortical network excitability by promoting extra-synaptic over synaptic signaling of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR5, which is similarly dysregulated in fragile X syndrome, the most frequent monogenic form of ASD. To assess the therapeutic potential of regulating Itgb3 gene dosage, we implemented CRISPR activation and compared its efficacy with that of a pharmacological rescue strategy for fragile X syndrome. Correction of neuronal Itgb3 haplo-insufficiency by CRISPR activation rebalanced network excitability as effectively as blockade of mGluR5 with the selective antagonist MPEP. Our findings reveal an unexpected functional interaction between two ASD genes, thereby validating the pathogenicity of ITGB3 haplo-insufficiency. Further, they pave the way for exploiting CRISPR activation as gene therapy for normalizing gene dosage and network excitability in ASD.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3029042
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