Mutation screening in the Greek population and evaluation of NLGN3 and NLGN4X genes causal factors for autism.
Several lines of evidence indicate a role of mutations in the two X-linked genes neuroligin 3 (NLGN3) and neuroligin 4 (NLGN4X) in the etiology of autistic spectrum disorders. To analyze whether genetic variants in the NLGN3 and NLGN4X genes occurs in patients with autistic disorders on high functioning level, we performed a mutation screen of both genes using SSCP in 107 probands with Asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism and atypical autism. We identified four polymorphisms (rs2290488, rs7049300, rs3747333, rs3747334) and one novel synonymous variant (A558) in the NLGN4X. The polymorphisms rs7049300, rs3747333, and rs3747334 did not cause any amino acid substitutions in the total of the eight detected carriers. A family-based association study for rs2290488 in 101 trios did not reveal association of this polymorphism with autistic disorders on high functioning level. We conclude that there is no evidence for an involvement of NLGN3 and NLGN4X genetic variants with autism spectrum disorder on high functioning level in our study group.