The phenotype overlap between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) & intellectual disabilities (ID) is mirrored at the genetic level, with common genes being reported mutated in variety of developmental disabilities. However despite widespread genetic screening for mutations, in approximately 40-60% of childhood developmental disorders the genetic cause remains unknown. Several genome-wide linkage screens in ASD have identified a locus mapping to distal 8q. We have recently identified a novel brain-specific imprinted cluster at this location, which contains the reciprocally expressed maternal KCNK9 and paternally expressed non-coding PEG13 transcripts, the latter located within an intron of TRAPPC9. Interestingly, mutations of KCNK9 and TRAPPC9 have been reported in Birk-Barel mental retardation and non-syndromic familial forms of ID, respectively. Here, we report a genetic screen for KCNK9 coding mutations and potential epigenetic aberrations that could result in deregulated imprinting in a cohort of 120 ID, 86 ASD and 86 Tourette syndrome patients. Fifteen of the ID patients had clinical characteristics overlapping with Birk-Barel syndrome. Sequencing of the two coding exons of KCNK9 failed to identify pathologic mutations, with only one variant, rs2615374, being present with allele frequencies similar to those described in dbSNP database. DNA methylation profiling of the KCNK9 and TRAPPC9 promoters, the maternally methylated PEG13 DMR and a long-range enhancer region were normal in all patients. Our findings suggest that mutations of KCNK9 or epigenetic disturbances within the PEG13 imprinted cluster do not significantly contribute to the cause of the developmental disabilities tested in this study.
Keywords: Imprinting; KCNK9; autism spectrum disorder; intellectual disability; methylation.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.