Distinct selective forces and Neanderthal introgression shaped genetic diversity at genes involved in neurodevelopmental disorders.
ABSTRACT: In addition to high intelligence, humans evolved specialized social-cognitive skills, which are specifically affected in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Genes affected in ASD represent suitable candidates to study the evolution of human social cognition. We performed an evolutionary analysis on 68 genes associated to neurodevelopmental disorders; our data indicate that genetic diversity was shaped by distinct selective forces, including natural selection and introgression from archaic hominins. We discuss the possibility that segregation distortion during spermatogenesis accounts for a subset of ASD mutations. Finally, we detected modern-human-specific alleles in DYRK1A and TCF4. These variants are located within regions that display chromatin features typical of transcriptional enhancers in several brain areas, strongly suggesting a regulatory role. These SNPs thus represent candidates for association with neurodevelopmental disorders, and await experimental validation in future studies.
Project description:Environment parameters, diet and genetic factors interact to shape tooth morphostructure. In the human lineage, archaic and modern hominins show differences in dental traits, including enamel thickness, but variability also exists among living populations. Several polymorphisms, in particular in the non-collagenous extracellular matrix proteins of the tooth hard tissues, like enamelin, are involved in dental structure variation and defects and may be associated with dental disorders or susceptibility to caries. To gain insights into the relationships between tooth protein polymorphisms and dental structural morphology and defects, we searched for non-synonymous polymorphisms in tooth proteins from Neanderthal and Denisova hominins. The objective was to identify archaic-specific missense variants that may explain the dental morphostructural variability between extinct and modern humans, and to explore their putative impact on present-day dental phenotypes. Thirteen non-collagenous extracellular matrix proteins specific to hard dental tissues have been selected, searched in the publicly available sequence databases of Neanderthal and Denisova individuals and compared with modern human genome data. A total of 16 non-synonymous polymorphisms were identified in 6 proteins (ameloblastin, amelotin, cementum protein 1, dentin matrix acidic phosphoprotein 1, enamelin and matrix Gla protein). Most of them are encoded by dentin and enamel genes located on chromosome 4, previously reported to show signs of archaic introgression within Africa. Among the variants shared with modern humans, two are ancestral (common with apes) and one is the derived enamelin major variant, T648I (rs7671281), associated with a thinner enamel and specific to the Homo lineage. All the others are specific to Neanderthals and Denisova, and are found at a very low frequency in modern Africans or East and South Asians, suggesting that they may be related to particular dental traits or disease susceptibility in these populations. This modern regional distribution of archaic dental polymorphisms may reflect persistence of archaic variants in some populations and may contribute in part to the geographic dental variations described in modern humans.
Project description:Some human populations interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, resulting in substantial contributions to modern-human genomes. Therefore, it is now possible to use genomic data to investigate mechanisms that shaped historical gene flow between humans and our closest hominin relatives. More generally, in eukaryotes, mitonuclear interactions have been argued to play a disproportionate role in generating reproductive isolation. There is no evidence of mtDNA introgression into modern human populations, which means that all introgressed nuclear alleles from archaic hominins must function on a modern-human mitochondrial background. Therefore, mitonuclear interactions are also potentially relevant to hominin evolution. We performed a detailed accounting of mtDNA divergence among hominin lineages and used population-genomic data to test the hypothesis that mitonuclear incompatibilities have preferentially restricted the introgression of nuclear genes with mitochondrial functions. We found a small but significant underrepresentation of introgressed Neanderthal alleles at such nuclear loci. Structural analyses of mitochondrial enzyme complexes revealed that these effects are unlikely to be mediated by physically interacting sites in mitochondrial and nuclear gene products. We did not detect any underrepresentation of introgressed Denisovan alleles at mitochondrial-targeted loci, but this may reflect reduced power because locus-specific estimates of Denisovan introgression are more conservative. Overall, we conclude that genes involved in mitochondrial function may have been subject to distinct selection pressures during the history of introgression from archaic hominins but that mitonuclear incompatibilities have had, at most, a small role in shaping genome-wide introgression patterns, perhaps because of limited functional divergence in mtDNA and interacting nuclear genes.
Project description:Autism is a prevailing neurodevelopmental disorder with a large genetic/genomic component. Recently, the dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1 A (DYRK1A) gene was implicated as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We identified five DYRK1A variants in ASD patients and found that the dose of DYRK1A protein has a crucial role in various aspects of postnatal neural development. Dyrk1a loss of function and gain of function led to defects in dendritic growth, dendritic spine development and radial migration during cortical development. Importantly, two autism-associated truncations, R205X and E239X, were shown to be Dyrk1a loss-of-function mutants. Studies of the truncated Dyrk1a mutants may provide new insights into the role of Dyrk1a in brain development, as well as the role of Dyrk1a loss of function in the pathophysiology of autism.
Project description:Dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1 A (DYRK1A) maps to the Down syndrome critical region; copy number increase of this gene is thought to have a major role in the neurocognitive deficits associated with Trisomy 21. Truncation of DYRK1A in patients with developmental delay (DD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suggests a different pathology associated with loss-of-function mutations. To understand the phenotypic spectrum associated with DYRK1A mutations, we resequenced the gene in 7162 ASD/DD patients (2446 previously reported) and 2169 unaffected siblings and performed a detailed phenotypic assessment on nine patients. Comparison of our data and published cases with 8696 controls identified a significant enrichment of DYRK1A truncating mutations (P=0.00851) and an excess of de novo mutations (P=2.53 × 10(-10)) among ASD/intellectual disability (ID) patients. Phenotypic comparison of all novel (n=5) and recontacted (n=3) cases with previous case reports, including larger CNV and translocation events (n=7), identified a syndromal disorder among the 15 patients. It was characterized by ID, ASD, microcephaly, intrauterine growth retardation, febrile seizures in infancy, impaired speech, stereotypic behavior, hypertonia and a specific facial gestalt. We conclude that mutations in DYRK1A define a syndromic form of ASD and ID with neurodevelopmental defects consistent with murine and Drosophila knockout models.
Project description:Humans possess a communication system based on spoken and written language. Other animals can learn vocalization by imitation, but this is not equivalent to human language. Many genes were described to be implicated in language impairment (LI) and developmental dyslexia (DD), but their evolutionary history has not been thoroughly analyzed. Herein we analyzed the evolution of ten genes involved in DD and LI. Results show that the evolutionary history of LI genes for mammals and aves was comparable in vocal-learner species and non-learners. For the human lineage, several sites showing evidence of positive selection were identified in KIAA0319 and were already present in Neanderthals and Denisovans, suggesting that any phenotypic change they entailed was shared with archaic hominins. Conversely, in FOXP2, ROBO1, ROBO2, and CNTNAP2 non-coding changes rose to high frequency after the separation from archaic hominins. These variants are promising candidates for association studies in LI and DD.
Project description:Neanderthals and Denisovans are extinct groups of hominins that separated from each other more than 390,000 years ago1,2. Here we present the genome of 'Denisova 11', a bone fragment from Denisova Cave (Russia)3 and show that it comes from an individual who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The father, whose genome bears traces of Neanderthal ancestry, came from a population related to a later Denisovan found in the cave4-6. The mother came from a population more closely related to Neanderthals who lived later in Europe2,7 than to an earlier Neanderthal found in Denisova Cave8, suggesting that migrations of Neanderthals between eastern and western Eurasia occurred sometime after 120,000 years ago. The finding of a first-generation Neanderthal-Denisovan offspring among the small number of archaic specimens sequenced to date suggests that mixing between Late Pleistocene hominin groups was common when they met.
Project description:Common genetic variants in and around the gene encoding transcription factor 4 (TCF4) are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. Conversely, rare damaging TCF4 mutations cause Pitt-Hopkins syndrome and have also been found in individuals with intellectual disability (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Chromatin immunoprecipitation and next generation sequencing were used to identify the genomic targets of TCF4. These data were integrated with expression, epigenetic and disease gene sets using a range of computational tools.We identify 10604 TCF4 binding sites in the genome that were assigned to 5437 genes. De novo motif enrichment found that most TCF4 binding sites contained at least one E-box (5'-CAtcTG). Approximately 77% of TCF4 binding sites overlapped with the H3K27ac histone modification for active enhancers. Enrichment analysis on the set of TCF4 targets identified numerous, highly significant functional clusters for pathways including nervous system development, ion transport and signal transduction, and co-expression modules for genes associated with synaptic function and brain development. Importantly, we found that genes harboring de novo mutations in schizophrenia (P = 5.3 × 10-7), ASD (P = 2.5 × 10-4), and ID (P = 7.6 × 10-3) were also enriched among TCF4 targets. TCF4 binding sites were also found at other schizophrenia risk loci including the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor cluster, CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 and SETD1A.These data demonstrate that TCF4 binding sites are found in a large number of neuronal genes that include many genetic risk factors for common neurodevelopmental disorders.
Project description:The demographic history of anatomically modern humans (AMH) involves multiple migration events, population extinctions and genetic adaptations. As genome-wide data from complete genome sequencing becomes increasingly abundant and available even from extinct hominins, new insights of the evolutionary history of our species are discovered. It is currently known that AMH interbred with archaic hominins once they left the African continent. Current non-African human genomes carry fragments of archaic origin. This review focuses on the fitness consequences of archaic interbreeding in current human populations. We discuss new insights and challenges that researchers face when interpreting the potential impact of introgression on fitness and testing hypotheses about the role of selection within the context of health and disease.
Project description:As modern humans dispersed from Africa throughout the world, they encountered and interbred with archaic hominins, including Neanderthals and Denisovans [1, 2]. Although genome-scale maps of introgressed sequences have been constructed [3-6], considerable gaps in knowledge remain about the functional, phenotypic, and evolutionary significance of archaic hominin DNA that persists in present-day individuals. Here, we describe a comprehensive set of analyses that identified 126 high-frequency archaic haplotypes as putative targets of adaptive introgression in geographically diverse populations. These loci are enriched for immune-related genes (such as OAS1/2/3, TLR1/6/10, and TNFAIP3) and also encompass genes (including OCA2 and BNC2) that influence skin pigmentation phenotypes. Furthermore, we leveraged existing and novel large-scale gene expression datasets to show many positively selected archaic haplotypes act as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), suggesting that modulation of transcript abundance was a common mechanism facilitating adaptive introgression. Our results demonstrate that hybridization between modern and archaic hominins provided an important reservoir of advantageous alleles that enabled adaptation to out-of-Africa environments.
Project description:DYRK1A is a gene recurrently disrupted in 0.1-0.5% of the ASD population. A growing number of case reports with DYRK1A haploinsufficiency exhibit common phenotypic features including microcephaly, intellectual disability, speech delay, and facial dysmorphisms.Phenotypic information from previously published DYRK1A cases (n = 51) and participants in an ongoing study at the University of Washington (UW, n = 10) were compiled. Frequencies of recurrent phenotypic features in this population were compared to features observed in a large sample with idiopathic ASD from the Simons Simplex Collection (n = 1981). UW DYRK1A cases were further characterized quantitatively and compared to a randomly subsampled set of idiopathic ASD cases matched on age and gender (n = 10) and to cases with an ASD-associated disruptive mutation to CHD8 (n = 12). Contribution of familial genetic background to clinical heterogeneity was assessed by comparing head circumference, IQ, and ASD-related symptoms of UW DYRK1A cases to their unaffected parents.DYRK1A haploinsufficiency results in a common phenotypic profile including intellectual disability, speech and motor difficulties, microcephaly, feeding difficulties, and vision abnormalities. Eighty-nine percent of DYRK1A cases ascertained for ASD presented with a constellation of five or more of these symptoms. When compared quantitatively, DYRK1A cases presented with significantly lower IQ and adaptive functioning compared to idiopathic cases and significantly smaller head size compared to both idiopathic and CHD8 cases. Phenotypic variability in parental head circumference, IQ, and ASD-related symptoms corresponded to observed variability in affected child phenotype.Results confirm a core clinical phenotype for DYRK1A disruptions, with a combination of features that is distinct from idiopathic ASD. Cases with DYRK1A mutations are also distinguishable from disruptive mutations to CHD8 by head size. Measurable, quantitative characterization of DYRK1A haploinsufficiency illuminates clinical variability, which may be, in part, due to familial genetic background.