The UPF3B gene, implicated in intellectual disability, autism, ADHD and childhood onset schizophrenia regulates neural progenitor cell behaviour and neuronal outgrowth

Lachlan A. Jolly, Claire C. Homan, Reuben Jacob, Simon Barry, Jozef Gecz

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64 Citations (Scopus)


Loss-of-function mutations in UPF3B result in variable clinical presentations including intellectual disability (ID, syndromic and non-syndromic), autism, childhood onset schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. UPF3B is a core member of the nonsense-mediatedmRNAdecay (NMD) pathway that functions to rapidly degrade transcripts with premature termination codons (PTCs). Traditionally identified in thousands of human diseases, PTCs were recently also found to be part of 'normal' genetic variation in human populations. Furthermore, many human transcripts have naturally occurring regulatory features compatible with 'endogenous'PTCsstrongly suggesting roles ofNMDbeyondPTCmRNAcontrol. In this study,weinvestigated the role of Upf3b andNMD in neural cells.Weprovide evidence that suggests Upf3b-dependentNMD(Upf3b-NMD) is regulated at multiple levels during development including regulation of expression and sub-cellular localization of Upf3b. Furthermore, complementary expression of Upf3b, Upf3a and Stau1 stratify the developing dorsal telencephalon, suggesting that alternativeNMD,andthe related Staufen1-mediatedmRNAdecay (SMD) pathways are differentially employed. A loss of Upf3b-NMD in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) resulted in the expansion of cell numbers at the expense of their differentiation. In primary hippocampal neurons, loss of Upf3b-NMD resulted in subtle neurite growth effects. Our data suggest that the cellular consequences of loss of Upf3b-NMD can be explained in-part by changes in expression of key NMD-feature containing transcripts, which are commonly deregulated also in patients with UPF3B mutations. Our research identifies novel pathological mechanisms of UPF3B mutations and at least partly explains the clinical phenotype of UPF3B patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddt315
Pages (from-to)4673-4687
Number of pages15
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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