Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Autism Spectrum Disorders as the Core Symptoms of AUTS2 Syndrome: Description of Five New Patients and Update of the Frequency of Manifestations and Genotype-Phenotype Correlation

Genes (Basel). 2021 Aug 30;12(9):1360. doi: 10.3390/genes12091360.


Haploinsufficiency of AUTS2 has been associated with a syndromic form of neurodevelopmental delay characterized by intellectual disability, autistic features, and microcephaly, also known as AUTS2 syndrome. While the phenotype associated with large deletions and duplications of AUTS2 is well established, clinical features of patients harboring AUTS2 sequence variants have not been extensively described. In this study, we describe the phenotype of five new patients with AUTS2 pathogenic variants, three of them harboring loss-of-function sequence variants. The phenotype of the patients was characterized by attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autistic features and mild global developmental delay (GDD) or intellectual disability (ID), all in 4/5 patients (80%), a frequency higher than previously reported for ADHD and autistic features. Microcephaly and short stature were found in 60% of the patients; and feeding difficulties, generalized hypotonia, and ptosis, were each found in 40%. We also provide the aggregated frequency of the 32 items included in the AUTS2 syndrome severity score (ASSS) in patients currently reported in the literature. The main characteristics of the syndrome are GDD/ID in 98% of patients, microcephaly in 65%, feeding difficulties in 62%, ADHD or hyperactivity in 54%, and autistic traits in 52%. Finally, using the location of 31 variants from the literature together with variants from the five patients, we found significantly higher ASSS values in patients with pathogenic variants affecting the 3' end of the gene, confirming the genotype-phenotype correlation initially described.

Keywords: ADHD; AUTS2; AUTS2 syndrome; autism; neurodevelopmental disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / etiology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology
  • Developmental Disabilities / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Loss of Function Mutation
  • Male
  • Syndrome
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • AUTS2 protein, human
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Transcription Factors