The recent finding of activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) as a protein decreased in serum of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to controls, alongside with the discovery of ADNP mutations in autism and coupled with the original description of cancer mutations, ignited an interest for a comparative analysis of ADNP with other AD/autism/cancer-associated genes. We strive toward a better understanding of the molecular structure of key players in psychiatric/neurodegenerative diseases including autism, schizophrenia, and AD. This article includes data mining and bioinformatics analysis on the ADNP gene and protein, in addition to other related genes, with emphasis on recent literature. ADNP is discovered here as unique to chordata with specific autism mutations different from cancer-associated mutation. Furthermore, ADNP exhibits similarities to other cancer/autism-associated genes. We suggest that key genes, which shape and maintain our brain and are prone to mutations, are by in large unique to chordata. Furthermore, these brain-controlling genes, like ADNP, are linked to cell growth and differentiation, and under different stress conditions may mutate or exhibit expression changes leading to cancer propagation. Better understanding of these genes could lead to better therapeutics.
Keywords: Activity-dependent neuroportective protein; Alzheimer's disease; autism spectrum disorder; cancer.