Drosophila models of pathogenic copy-number variant genes show global and non-neuronal defects during development

Tanzeen Yusuff, Matthew Jensen, Sneha Yennawar, Lucilla Pizzo, Siddharth Karthikeyan, Dagny J. Gould, Avik Sarker, Erika Gedvilaite, Yurika Matsui, Janani Iyer, Zhi-Chun Lai, Santhosh Girirajan (+1 others)
2020 PLoS Genetics  
While rare pathogenic copy-number variants (CNVs) are associated with both neuronal and non-neuronal phenotypes, functional studies evaluating these regions have focused on the molecular basis of neuronal defects. We report a systematic functional analysis of non-neuronal defects for homologs of 59 genes within ten pathogenic CNVs and 20 neurodevelopmental genes in Drosophila melanogaster. Using wing-specific knockdown of 136 RNA interference lines, we identified qualitative and quantitative
more » ... and quantitative phenotypes in 72/79 homologs, including 21 lines with severe wing defects and six lines with lethality. In fact, we found that 10/31 homologs of CNV genes also showed complete or partial lethality at larval or pupal stages with ubiquitous knockdown. Comparisons between eye and wing-specific knockdown of 37/45 homologs showed both neuronal and non-neuronal defects, but with no correlation in the severity of defects. We further observed disruptions in cell proliferation and apoptosis in larval wing discs for 23/27 homologs, and altered Wnt, Hedgehog and Notch signaling for 9/14 homologs, including AATF/Aatf, PPP4C/Pp4-19C, and KIF11/Klp61F. These findings were further supported by tissue-specific differences in expression patterns of human CNV genes, as well as connectivity of CNV genes to signaling pathway genes in brain, heart and kidney-specific networks. Our findings suggest that multiple genes within each CNV differentially affect both global and tissue-specific developmental processes within conserved pathways, and that their roles are not restricted to neuronal functions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008792 pmid:32579612 fatcat:mugg552uazdavpshceijafrqsm