Deletion of TRPC6, an Autism Risk Gene, Induces Hyperexcitability in Cortical Neurons Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Dec;60(12):7297-7308. doi: 10.1007/s12035-023-03527-0. Epub 2023 Aug 8.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder linked to numerous rare, inherited, and arising de novo genetic variants. ASD often co-occurs with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy, which are associated with hyperexcitability of neurons. However, the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying hyperexcitability in ASD remain poorly understood. Transient receptor potential canonical-6 (TRPC6) is a Ca2+-permeable cation channel that regulates store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) and is a candidate risk gene for ASD. Using human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived cortical neurons, single-cell calcium imaging, and electrophysiological recording, we show that TRPC6 knockout (KO) reduces SOCE signaling and leads to hyperexcitability of neurons by increasing action potential frequency and network burst frequency. Our data provide evidence that reduction of SOCE by TRPC6 KO results in neuronal hyperexcitability, which we hypothesize is an important contributor to the cellular pathophysiology underlying hyperactivity in some ASD.

Keywords: Autism; Hyperexcitability; SOCE; TRPC6; hPSC‐derived cortical neurons; iPSC.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder* / genetics
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • TRPC6 Cation Channel / genetics


  • TRPC6 Cation Channel
  • Calcium
  • TRPC6 protein, human