Mutations in BCKD-kinase lead to a potentially treatable form of autism with epilepsy

Gaia Novarino, Paul El-Fishawy, Hulya Kayserili, Nagwa A. Meguid, Eric M. Scott, Jana Schroth, Jennifer L. Silhavy, Majdi Kara, Rehab O. Khalil, Tawfeg Ben-Omran, A. G. Ercan-Sencicek, Adel F. Hashish, Stephan J. Sanders, Abha R. Gupta, Hebatalla S. Hashem, Dietrich Matern, Stacey Gabriel, Larry Sweetman, Yasmeen Rahimi, Robert A. HarrisMatthew W. State, Joseph G. Gleeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders are a genetically heterogeneous constellation of syndromes characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction. Available somatic treatments have limited efficacy. We have identified inactivating mutations in the gene BCKDK (Branched Chain Ketoacid Dehydrogenase Kinase) in consanguineous families with autism, epilepsy, and intellectual disability. The encoded protein is responsible for phosphorylation-mediated inactivation of the E1α subunit of branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKDH). Patients with homozygous BCKDK mutations display reductions in BCKDK messenger RNA and protein, E1α phosphorylation, and plasma branched-chain amino acids. Bckdk knockout mice show abnormal brain amino acid profiles and neurobehavioral deficits that respond to dietary supplementation. Thus, autism presenting with intellectual disability and epilepsy caused by BCKDK mutations represents a potentially treatable syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-397
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume338
Issue number6105
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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