A Mouse Mutation That Dysregulates Neighboring Galnt17 and Auts2 Genes Is Associated with Phenotypes Related to the Human AUTS2 Syndrome.

Weisner PA, Chen CY, Sun Y, Yoo J, Kao WC, Zhang H, Baltz ET, Troy JMStubbs L


AUTS2 was originally discovered as the gene disrupted by a translocation in human twins with Autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and epilepsy. Since that initial finding, AUTS2-linked mutations and variants have been associated with a very broad array of neuropsychiatric disorders, suggesting that AUTS2 is required for fundamental steps of neurodevelopment. However, genotype-phenotype correlations in this region are complicated, because most mutations could also involve neighboring genes. Of particular interest is the nearest downstream neighbor of AUTS2,GALNT17, which encodes a brain-expressed N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase of unknown brain function. Here we describe a mouse (Mus musculus) mutation, T(5G2;8A1)GSO (abbreviated 16Gso), a reciprocal translocation that breaks between Auts2 and Galnt17 and dysregulates both genes. Despite this complex regulatory effect, 16Gso homozygotes model certain human AUTS2-linked phenotypes very well. In addition to abnormalities in growth, craniofacial structure, learning and memory, and behavior, 16Gso homozygotes display distinct pathologies of the cerebellum and hippocampus that are similar to those associated with autism and other types of AUTS2-linked neurological disease. Analyzing mutant cerebellar and hippocampal transcriptomes to explain this pathology, we identified disturbances in pathways related to neuron and synapse maturation, neurotransmitter signaling, and cellular stress, suggesting possible cellular mechanisms. These pathways, coupled with the translocation’s selective effects on Auts2 isoforms and coordinated dysregulation of Galnt17, suggest novel hypotheses regarding the etiology of the human “AUTS2 syndrome” and the wide array of neurodevelopmental disorders linked to variance in this genomic region.

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An extended regulatory landscape drives Tbx18 activity in a variety of prostate-associated cell lineages.

Negi S, Bolt CC, Zhang HStubbs L


The evolutionarily conserved transcription factor, Tbx18, is expressed in a dynamic pattern throughout embryonic and early postnatal life and plays crucial roles in the development of multiple organ systems. Previous studies have indicated that this dynamic function is controlled by an expansive regulatory structure, extending far upstream and downstream of the gene. With the goal of identifying elements that interact with the Tbx18 promoter in developing prostate, we coupled chromatin conformation capture (4C) and ATAC-seq from embryonic day 18.5 (E18.5) mouse urogenital sinus (UGS), where Tbx18 is highly expressed. The data revealed dozens of active chromatin elements distributed throughout a 1.5 million base pair topologically associating domain (TAD). To identify cell types contributing to this chromatin signal, we used lineage tracing methods with a Tbx18 Cre “knock-in” allele; these data show clearly that Tbx18-expressing precursors differentiate into wide array of cell types in multiple tissue compartments, most of which have not been previously reported. We also used a 209 kb Cre-expressing Tbx18 transgene, to partition enhancers for specific precursor types into two rough spatial domains. Within this central 209 kb compartment, we identified ECR1, previously described to regulate Tbx18 expression in ureter, as an active regulator of UGS expression. Together these data define the diverse fates of Tbx18+ precursors in prostate-associated tissues for the first time, and identify a highly active TAD controlling the gene’s essential function in this tissue.

Read More at Developmental Biology