Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Etiology of autism risk involving MET gene and the environment  

Two independent lines of evidence indicate that the maternal immune system and a functional genetic variant contribute to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk. Here, the Van De Water lab will partner with scientists at Vanderbilt University to examine whether these two seemingly unrelated contributions may converge to define a unique ASD susceptibility. Preliminary evidence collected by the Van De Water lab indicates an association between the Mesenchymal epithelial transition factor (MET) gene 'C' type, which reduces MET protein expression, and the presence of specific maternal anti-fetal brain autoantibodies. This relationship suggests that this as a pathway for production of the maternal autoantibodies, leading to a gene x environment interaction underlying ASD susceptibility. The next line of experiments will examine the relationship in an even larger sample and assess the functional effect of the MET gene polymorphism on immune cell activity as well as further examine the impact of environmental toxins (including ethyl mercury) on the gene expression-dependent function of maternal immune cells. Project Status


Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $186,745.00
Current Award Period 2008-2011
Project Number 4907
Principal Investigator Van de Water, Judy
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Gene-Environment
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SE. Support at least two studies to determine if there are subpopulations that are more susceptible to environmental exposures (e.g., immune challenges related to infections, vaccinations, or underlying autoimmune problems) by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $8,000,000 over 2 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of California, Davis
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Etiology of autism risk involving MET gene and the environment (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Etiology of autism risk involving MET gene and the environment | $219,700.00 | 2009 | 4907
Etiology of autism risk involving MET gene and the environment | $220,000.00 | 2008 | 4907