The impact of the metabotropic glutamate receptor and other gene family interaction networks on autism

Dexter Hadley, Zhi Liang Wu, Charlly Kao, Akshata Kini, Alisha Mohamed-Hadley, Kelly Thomas, Lyam Vazquez, Haijun Qiu, Frank Mentch, Renata Pellegrino, Cecilia Kim, John Connolly, Joseph Glessner, Hakon Hakonarson, Dalila Pinto, Alison Merikangas, Lambertus Klei, Jacob A S Vorstman, Ann Thompson, Regina ReganAlistair T. Pagnamenta, Bárbara Oliveira, Tiago R. Magalhaes, John Gilbert, Eftichia Duketis, Maretha V. De Jonge, Michael Cuccaro, Catarina T. Correia, Judith Conroy, Inês C. Conceiça, Andreas G. Chiocchetti, Jillian P. Casey, Nadia Bolshakova, Elena Bacchelli, Richard Anney, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Kerstin Wittemeyer, Simon Wallace, Herman Van Engeland, Latha Soorya, Bernadette Rogé, Wendy Roberts, Fritz Poustka, Susana Mouga, Nancy Minshew, Susan G. McGrew, Catherine Lord, Marion Leboyer, Ann S. Le Couteur, Alexander Kolevzon, Suma Jacob, Stephen Guter, Jonathan Green, Andrew Green, Christopher Gillberg, Bridget A. Fernandez, Frederico Duque, Richard Delorme, Geraldine Dawson, Sean Brennan, Thomas Bourgeron, Patrick F. Bolton, Sven Bölte, Raphael Bernier, Gillian Baird, Anthony J. Bailey, Evdokia Anagnostou, Ellen M. Wijsman, Veronica J. Vieland, Astrid M. Vicente, Erard D. Schellenberg, Margaret Pericak-Vance, Andrew D. Paterson, Jeremy R. Parr, Guiomar Oliveira, Joana Almeida, Cátia Café, John I. Nurnberger, Anthony P. Monaco, Elena Maestrini, Sabine M. Klauck, Jonathan L. Haines, Daniel H. Geschwind, Christine M. Freitag, Susan E. Folstein, Sean Ennis, Hilary Coon, Agatino Battaglia, Peter Szatmari, James S. Sutcliffe, Joachim Hallmayer, Michael Gill, Edwin H. Cook, Joseph D. Buxbaum, Bernie Devlin, Louise Gallagher, Catalina Betancur, Stephen W. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although multiple reports show that defective genetic networks underlie the aetiology of autism, few have translated into pharmacotherapeutic opportunities. Since drugs compete with endogenous small molecules for protein binding, many successful drugs target large gene families with multiple drug binding sites. Here we search for defective gene family interaction networks (GFINs) in 6,742 patients with the ASDs relative to 12,544 neurologically normal controls, to find potentially druggable genetic targets. We find significant enrichment of structural defects (P 2.40E 09, 1.8-fold enrichment) in the metabotropic glutamate receptor (GRM) GFIN, previously observed to impact attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia. Also, the MXD-MYC-MAX network of genes, previously implicated in cancer, is significantly enriched (P 3.83E 23, 2.5-fold enrichment), as is the calmodulin 1 (CALM1) gene interaction network (P 4.16 04, 14.4-fold enrichment), which regulates voltage-independent calcium-activated action potentials at the neuronal synapse. We find that multiple defective gene family interactions underlie autism, presenting new translational opportunities to explore for therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4074
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - Jun 13 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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