We generated human iPS derived neural stem cells and differentiated cells from healthy control individuals and an individual with autism spectrum disorder carrying bi-allelic NRXN1-alpha deletion. We investigated the expression of NRXN1-alpha during neural induction and neural differentiation and observed a pivotal role for NRXN1-alpha during early neural induction and neuronal differentiation. Single cell RNA-seq pinpointed neural stem cells carrying NRXN1-alpha deletion shifting towards radial glia-like cell identity and revealed higher proportion of differentiated astroglia. Furthermore, neuronal cells carrying NRXN1-alpha deletion were identified as immature by single cell RNA-seq analysis, displayed significant depression in calcium signaling activity and presented impaired maturation action potential profile in neurons investigated with electrophysiology. Our observations propose NRXN1-alpha plays an important role for the efficient establishment of neural stem cells, in neuronal differentiation and in maturation of functional excitatory neuronal cells.
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Disease modeling; Induced pluripotent stem cell; Neural development; Neural stem cell; Neurexin; Neurexin-1 alpha; Single cell RNA sequencing.
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