Refining the role of de novo protein-truncating variants in neurodevelopmental disorders by using population reference samples
Kosmicki JA., Samocha KE., Howrigan DP., Sanders SJ., Slowikowski K., Lek M., Karczewski KJ., Cutler DJ., Devlin B., Roeder K., Buxbaum JD., Neale BM., Macarthur DG., Wall DP., Robinson EB., Daly MJ.
Recent research has uncovered an important role for de novo variation in neurodevelopmental disorders. Using aggregated data from 9,246 families with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or developmental delay, we found that ∼41/3 of de novo variants are independently present as standing variation in the Exome Aggregation Consortium's cohort of 60,706 adults, and these de novo variants do not contribute to neurodevelopmental risk. We further used a loss-of-function (LoF)-intolerance metric, pLI, to identify a subset of LoF-intolerant genes containing the observed signal of associated de novo protein-truncating variants (PTVs) in neurodevelopmental disorders. LoF-intolerant genes also carry a modest excess of inherited PTVs, although the strongest de novo-affected genes contribute little to this excess, thus suggesting that the excess of inherited risk resides in lower-penetrant genes. These findings illustrate the importance of population-based reference cohorts for the interpretation of candidate pathogenic variants, even for analyses of complex diseases and de novo variation.