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Many autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-associated genes act as transcriptional regulators (TRs). Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used to identify the regulatory targets of ARID1B, BCL11A, FOXP1, TBR1, and TCF7L2, ASD-associated TRs in the developing human and mouse cortex. These TRs shared substantial overlap in the binding sites, especially within open chromatin. The overlap within a promoter region, 1-2,000 bp upstream of the transcription start site, was highly predictive of brain-expressed genes. This signature was observed in 96 out of 102 ASD-associated genes. In vitro CRISPRi against ARID1B and TBR1 delineated downstream convergent biology in mouse cortical cultures. After 8 days, NeuN+ and CALB+ cells were decreased, GFAP+ cells were increased, and transcriptomic signatures correlated with the postmortem brain samples from individuals with ASD. We suggest that functional convergence across five ASD-associated TRs leads to shared neurodevelopmental outcomes of haploinsufficient disruption.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Rep

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CP: Genomics, CP: Neuroscience, CRISPRi, autism spectrum disorder, chromatin, convergence, genomics, haploinsufficient disorders, human fetal development, mouse brain development, transcriptional regulators