Early Developmental Origins of Cortical Disorders Modeled in Human Neural Stem Cells

Kavli Affiliate: Flora Vaccarino

| Authors: Xoel Mato-Blanco, Suel-Kee Kim, Alexandre Jourdon, Shaojie Ma, Andrew T.N. Tebbenkamp, Fuchen Liu, Alvaro Duque, Flora M. Vaccarino, Nenad Sestan, Carlo Colantuoni, Pasko Rakic, Gabriel Santpere and Nicola Micali

| Summary:

The implications of the early phases of human telencephalic development, involving neural stem cells (NSCs), in the etiology of cortical disorders remain elusive. Here, we explored the expression dynamics of cortical and neuropsychiatric disorder-associated genes in datasets generated from human NSCs across telencephalic fate transitions in vitro and in vivo. We identified risk genes expressed in brain organizers and sequential gene regulatory networks across corticogenesis revealing disease-specific critical phases, when NSCs are more vulnerable to gene dysfunctions, and converging signaling across multiple diseases. Moreover, we simulated the impact of risk transcription factor (TF) depletions on different neural cell types spanning the developing human neocortex and observed a spatiotemporal-dependent effect for each perturbation. Finally, single-cell transcriptomics of newly generated autism-affected patient-derived NSCs in vitro revealed recurrent alterations of TFs orchestrating brain patterning and NSC lineage commitment. This work opens new perspectives to explore human brain dysfunctions at the early phases of development.

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