LRFN5 locus structure is associated with autism and influenced by the sex of the individual and locus conversions
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionAutism Research. 2022, 15 (3), 421-433. 10.1002/aur.2677
LRFN5 is a regulator of synaptic development and the only gene in a 5.4 Mb mammalian-specific conserved topologically associating domain (TAD); the LRFN5 locus. An association between locus structural changes and developmental delay (DD) and/or autism was suggested by several cases in DECIPHER and own records. More significantly, we found that maternal inheritance of a specific LRFN5 locus haplotype segregated with an identical type of autism in distantly related males. This autism-susceptibility haplotype had a specific TAD pattern. We also found a male/female quantitative difference in the amount histone-3-lysine-9-associated chromatin around the LRFN5 gene itself (p < 0.01), possibly related to the male-restricted autism susceptibility. To better understand locus behavior, the prevalence of a 60 kb deletion polymorphism was investigated. Surprisingly, in three cohorts of individuals with DD (n = 8757), the number of deletion heterozygotes was 20%–26% lower than expected from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. This suggests allelic interaction, also because the conversions from heterozygosity to wild-type or deletion homozygosity were of equal magnitudes. Remarkably, in a control group of medical students (n = 1416), such conversions were three times more common (p = 0.00001), suggesting a regulatory role of this allelic interaction. Taken together, LRFN5 regulation appears unusually complex, and LRFN5 dysregulation could be an epigenetic cause of autism.