Neuron-specific protein network mapping of autism risk genes identifies shared biological mechanisms and disease-relevant pathologies

Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22;41(8):111678. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111678.


There are hundreds of risk genes associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but signaling networks at the protein level remain unexplored. We use neuron-specific proximity-labeling proteomics (BioID2) to identify protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks for 41 ASD risk genes. Neuron-specific PPI networks, including synaptic transmission proteins, are disrupted by de novo missense variants. The PPI network map reveals convergent pathways, including mitochondrial/metabolic processes, Wnt signaling, and MAPK signaling. CRISPR knockout displays an association between mitochondrial activity and ASD risk genes. The PPI network shows an enrichment of 112 additional ASD risk genes and differentially expressed genes from postmortem ASD patients. Clustering of risk genes based on PPI networks identifies gene groups corresponding to clinical behavior score severity. Our data report that cell type-specific PPI networks can identify individual and convergent ASD signaling networks, provide a method to assess patient variants, and highlight biological insight into disease mechanisms and sub-cohorts of ASD.

Keywords: BioID; CP: Neuroscience; adaptive behavior score; autism spectrum disorder; genetics; metabolism; mitochondria; neurodevelopment; neurodevelopmental disorders; proteomics; socialization score.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neurons
  • Protein Interaction Maps / genetics
  • Proteins
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • Proteins