Autism spectrum disorder associated with low serotonin in CSF and mutations in the SLC29A4 plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) gene
Ho, Horace T.B.
Van Maldergem, Lionel
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Background Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have low brain serotonin concentrations as reflected by the serotonin end-metabolite 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5HIAA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Methods We sequenced the candidate genes SLC6A4 (SERT), SLC29A4 (PMAT), and GCHFR (GFRP), followed by whole exome analysis. Results The known heterozygous p.Gly56Ala mutation in the SLC6A4 gene was equally found in the ASD and control populations. Using a genetic candidate gene approach, we identified, in 8 patients of a cohort of 248 with ASD, a high prevalence (3.2%) of three novel heterozygous non-synonymous mutations within the SLC29A4 plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) gene, c.86A > G (p.Asp29Gly) in two patients, c.412G > A (p.Ala138Thr) in five patients, and c.978 T > G (p.Asp326Glu) in one patient. Genome analysis of unaffected parents confirmed that these PMAT mutations were not de novo but inherited mutations. Upon analyzing over 15,000 normal control chromosomes, only SLC29A4 c.86A > G was found in 23 alleles (0.14%), while neither c.412G > A (<0.007%) nor c.978 T > G (<0.007%) were observed in all chromosomes analyzed, emphasizing the rareness of the three alterations. Expression of mutations PMAT-p.Ala138Thr and p.Asp326Glu in cellulae revealed significant reduced transport uptake activity towards a variety of substrates including serotonin, dopamine, and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), while mutation p.Asp29Gly had reduced transport activity only towards MPP+. At least two ASD subjects with either the PMAT-Ala138Thr or the PMAT-Asp326Glu mutation with altered serotonin transport activity had, besides low 5HIAA in CSF, elevated serotonin levels in blood and platelets. Moreover, whole exome sequencing revealed additional alterations in these two ASD patients in mainly serotonin-homeostasis genes compared to their non-affected family members. Conclusions Our findings link mutations in SLC29A4 to the ASD population although not invariably to low brain serotonin. PMAT dysfunction is speculated to raise serotonin prenatally, exerting a negative feedback inhibition through serotonin receptors on development of serotonin networks and local serotonin synthesis. Exome sequencing of serotonin homeostasis genes in two families illustrated more insight in aberrant serotonin signaling in ASD. Show more
Journal / seriesMolecular autism
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAutism spectrum disorder; Serotonin end-metabolite 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid; SERT; PMAT
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