Comprehensive Analysis of RNA-Seq Gene Expression Profiling of Brain Transcriptomes Reveals Novel Genes, Regulators, and Pathways in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Rahman M. R. , Petralia M. C. , Ciurleo R., Bramanti A., Fagone P., Shahjaman M., ...Daha Fazla

BRAIN SCIENCES, cilt.10, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier


Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with deficits in social communication ability and repetitive behavior. The pathophysiological events involved in the brain of this complex disease are still unclear. Methods: In this study, we aimed to profile the gene expression signatures of brain cortex of ASD patients, by using two publicly available RNA-seq studies, in order to discover new ASD-related genes. Results: We detected 1567 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) by meta-analysis, where 1194 were upregulated and 373 were downregulated genes. Several ASD-related genes previously reported were also identified. Our meta-analysis identified 235 new DEGs that were not detected using the individual RNA-seq studies used. Some of those genes, including seven DEGs (PAK1, DNAH17, DOCK8, DAPP1, PCDHAC2, and ERBIN, SLC7A7), have been confirmed in previous reports to be associated with ASD. Gene Ontology (GO) and pathways analysis showed several molecular pathways enriched by the DEGs, namely, osteoclast differentiation, TNF signaling pathway, complement and coagulation cascade. Topological analysis of protein-protein interaction of the ASD brain cortex revealed proteomics hub gene signatures: MYC, TP53, HDAC1, CDK2, BAG3, CDKN1A, GABARAPL1, EZH2, VIM, and TRAF1. We also identified the transcriptional factors (TFs) regulating DEGs, namely, FOXC1, GATA2, YY1, FOXL1, USF2, NFIC, NFKB1, E2F1, TFAP2A, HINFP. Conclusion: Novel core genes and molecular signatures involved with ASD were identified by our meta-analysis.