Investigating the role of Copy Number Variants in Specific Language Impairment and identification of new candidate genes

Ceroni, Fabiola (2014) Investigating the role of Copy Number Variants in Specific Language Impairment and identification of new candidate genes , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6409.
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Specific language impairment (SLI) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder defined as an unexpected failure to develop normal language abilities for no obvious reason. Copy number variants (CNVs) are an important source of variation in the susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, a CNV study within SLI families was performed to investigate the role of structural variants in SLI. Among the identified CNVs, we focused on CNVs on chromosome 15q11-q13, recurrently observed in neuropsychiatric conditions, and a homozygous exonic microdeletion in ZNF277. Since this microdeletion falls within the AUTS1 locus, a region linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD), we investigated a potential role of ZNF277 in SLI and ASD. Frequency data and expression analysis of the ZNF277 microdeletion suggested that this variant may contribute to the risk of language impairments in a complex manner, that is independent of the autism risk previously described in this region. Moreover, we identified an affected individual with a dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency, caused by compound heterozygosity of two deleterious variants in the gene DPYD. Since DPYD represents a good candidate gene for both SLI and ASD, we investigated its involvement in the susceptibility to these two disorders, focusing on the splicing variant rs3918290, the most common mutation in the DPD deficiency. We observed a higher frequency of rs3918290 in SLI cases (1.2%), compared to controls (~0.6%), while no difference was observed in a large ASD cohort. DPYD mutation screening in 4 SLI and 7 ASD families carrying the splicing variant identified six known missense changes and a novel variant in the promoter region. These data suggest that the combined effect of the mutations identified in affected individuals may lead to an altered DPD activity and that rare variants in DPYD might contribute to a minority of cases, in conjunction with other genetic or non-genetic factors.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Ceroni, Fabiola
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Specific Language Impairment;Copy Number Variants;ZNF277;DPYD;Autism Spectrum Disorders
Data di discussione
7 Aprile 2014

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