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Mutations of the X-linked genes encoding neuroligins NLGN3 and NLGN4 are associated with autism.

Jamain S., Quach H., Betancur C., Rastam M., Colineaux C., Gillberg I.C., Soderstrom H., Giros B., Leboyer M., Gillberg C., Bourgeron T., Nyden A., Philippe A., Cohen D., Chabane N., Mouren-Simeoni M.C., Brice A., Sponheim E., Spurkland I., Skjeldal O.H., Coleman M., Pearl P.L., Cohen I.L., Tsiouris J., Zappella M., Menchetti G., Pompella A., Aschauer H., Van Maldergem L.

Many studies have supported a genetic etiology for autism. Here we report mutations in two X-linked genes encoding neuroligins NLGN3 and NLGN4 in siblings with autism-spectrum disorders. These mutations affect cell-adhesion molecules localized at the synapse and suggest that a defect of synaptogenesis may predispose to autism.

Nat. Genet. 34:27-29(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]