Project Detail
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Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Studies of postmortem brain searching for epigenetic defects causing autism  

In the nucleus, DNA wraps around proteins to form a structure known as chromatin, and epigenetic modifications to either the proteins or the DNA can determine whether the chromatin hides or exposes a gene for RNA production. Chromatin modifications can have a wide-ranging impact on which genes are expressed, even without a mutation in the DNA sequence. Beaudet and his colleagues are looking for unusual patterns of chromatin modifications associated with autism, using techniques that uncover these marks on the proteins and DNA recovered from the nuclei of neurons. From the postmortem brain tissue from people with autism, the team plans to isolate chromatin and use antibodies to detect particular histone modifications known to affect gene expression. The researchers will also sequence the isolated DNA, looking for both mutations and methylation marks. This combined strategy allows screening of the chromatin in the neuron nuclei across the entire genome. The researchers will also analyze autism-associated genomic regions with even higher resolution to detect any epigenetic changes that would not be detected by traditional sequencing. In a complementary set of experiments, the investigators are carefully assaying the neurons' RNA profiles to determine which genes are up- or down-regulated in autism, which may point to new genes or pathways. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $400,000.00
Project Number 95252
Principal Investigator Beaudet, Arthur
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Risk Factors)
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 3LB. Identify genetic risk factors in at least 50% of people with ASD by 2014. IACC Recommended Budget: $33,900,000 over 6 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Baylor College of Medicine
State/Country Texas
Web Link 1 Studies of postmortem brain searching for epigenetic defects causing autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Studies of postmortem brain searching for epigenetic defects causing autism | $400,000.00 | 2010 | 95252
Studies of postmortem brain searching for epigenetic defects causing autism | $400,000.00 | 2008 | Project number unavailable