DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adh2726 ISSN: 2375-2548

GTF2I dosage regulates neuronal differentiation and social behavior in 7q11.23 neurodevelopmental disorders

Alejandro López-Tobón, Reinald Shyti, Carlo Emanuele Villa, Cristina Cheroni, Patricio Fuentes-Bravo, Sebastiano Trattaro, Nicolò Caporale, Flavia Troglio, Erika Tenderini, Marija Mihailovich, Adrianos Skaros, William T. Gibson, Alessandro Cuomo, Tiziana Bonaldi, Ciro Mercurio, Mario Varasi, Lucy Osborne, Giuseppe Testa
  • Multidisciplinary

Copy number variations at 7q11.23 cause neurodevelopmental disorders with shared and opposite manifestations. Deletion causes Williams-Beuren syndrome featuring hypersociability, while duplication causes 7q11.23 microduplication syndrome (7Dup), frequently exhibiting autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Converging evidence indicates GTF2I as key mediator of the cognitive-behavioral phenotypes, yet its role in cortical development and behavioral hallmarks remains largely unknown. We integrated proteomic and transcriptomic profiling of patient-derived cortical organoids, including longitudinally at single-cell resolution, to dissect 7q11.23 dosage–dependent and GTF2I -specific disease mechanisms. We observed dosage-dependent impaired dynamics of neural progenitor proliferation, transcriptional imbalances, and highly specific alterations in neuronal output, leading to precocious excitatory neuron production in 7Dup, which was rescued by restoring physiological GTF2I levels. Transgenic mice with Gtf2i duplication recapitulated progenitor proliferation and neuronal differentiation defects alongside ASD-like behaviors. Consistently, inhibition of lysine demethylase 1 (LSD1), a GTF2I effector, was sufficient to rescue ASD-like phenotypes in transgenic mice, establishing GTF2I -LSD1 axis as a molecular pathway amenable to therapeutic intervention in ASD.

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