Researchers find new transposon-derived genes related to autism and other neurological diseases

Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu researchers collaborate in this study led by Professor Jordi Garcia Fernàndez, from the Faculty of Biology and the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Barcelona (IBUB).

The lack of some genes in the BEC/TCEAL cluster could be related to some alterations associated with the autism spectrum disorder, according to a preclinical study published in the journal Genome Biology.

The study analysed transposon-derived genes that are involved in neural complex functions and that have not been studied before within the context of the autism spectrum disorder and other neurological diseases. The study, carried out with animal models, describes some molecular mechanisms that are determining in the development of the neocortex in humans and other placental mammals.

Among the authors of the study are the experts of the UB Enrique Navas, Bru Cormand, Gemma Marfany, Serena Mirra, Noelia Fernández-Castillo, Ester Antón and Carlos Herrera (also members of IBUB, el IRSJD and el CIBERER), and Eduardo Soriano and Fausto Ulloa (IBUB-CIBERNED-ICREA). The study also counts on the participation of teams from the University Pablo de Olavide, the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Pompeu Fabra University, the University of Murcia, the Zoological Station Anton Dohrn in Naples (Italy) and Charles University (Czech Republic).

Mice without the BEX3 gene are antisocial, and do not interact with other mice.