A noncoding RNA antisense to moesin at 5p14.1 in autism

Sci Transl Med. 2012 Apr 4;4(128):128ra40. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003479.


People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are characterized by deficits in social interaction, language, and behavioral flexibility. Rare mutations and copy number variations have been identified in individuals with ASD, but in most patients, the causal variants remain unknown. A genome-wide association study (GWAS), designed to identify genes and pathways that contribute to ASD, indicated a genome-wide significant association of ASD with the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4307059 (P = 10⁻¹⁰), which is located in a gene-poor region of chromosome 5p14.1. We describe here a 3.9-kb noncoding RNA that is transcribed from the region of the chromosome 5p14.1 ASD GWAS association SNP. The noncoding RNA was encoded by the opposite (antisense) strand of moesin pseudogene 1 (MSNP1), and we therefore designated it as MSNP1AS (moesin pseudogene 1, antisense). Chromosome 5p14.1 MSNP1AS was 94% identical and antisense to the X chromosome transcript of MSN, which encodes a protein (moesin) that regulates neuronal architecture. Individuals who carry the ASD-associated rs4307059 T allele showed increased expression of MSNP1AS. The MSNP1AS noncoding RNA bound to MSN, was highly overexpressed (12.7-fold) in postmortem cerebral cortex of individuals with ASD, and could regulate levels of moesin protein in human cell lines. These data reveal a biologically functional element that may contribute to ASD risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • RNA, Antisense
  • moesin