Shared and Distinct Functional Effects of Patient-Specific Tbr1 Mutations on Cortical Development

Marissa Co, Rebecca A. Barnard, Jennifer N. Jahncke, Sally Grindstaff, Lev M. Fedorov, Andrew C. Adey, Kevin M. Wright, Brian J. O’Roak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


T-Box Brain Transcription Factor 1 (TBR1) plays essential roles in brain development, mediating neuronal migration, fate specification, and axon tract formation. While heterozygous loss-of-function and missense TBR1 mutations are associated with neurodevelopmental conditions, the effects of these heterogeneous mutations on brain development have yet to be fully explored. We characterized multiple mouse lines carrying Tbr1 mutations differing by type and exonic location, including the previously generated Tbr1 exon 2-3 knock-out (KO) line, and we analyzed male and female mice at neonatal and adult stages. The frameshift patient mutation A136PfsX80 (A136fs) caused reduced TBR1 protein in cortex similar to Tbr1 KO, while the missense patient mutation K228E caused significant TBR1 upregulation. Analysis of cortical layer formation found similar defects between KO and A136fs homozygotes in their CUX11 and CTIP21 layer positions, while K228E homozygosity produced layering defects distinct from these mutants. Meanwhile, the examination of cortical apoptosis found extensive cell death in KO homozygotes but limited cell death in A136fs or K228E homozygotes. Despite their discordant cortical phenotypes, these Tbr1 mutations produced several congruent phenotypes, including anterior commissure reduction in heterozygotes, which was previously observed in humans with TBR1 mutations. These results indicate that patient-specific Tbr1 mutant mice will be valuable translational models for pinpointing shared and distinct etiologies among patients with TBR1-related developmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7166-7181
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 14 2022


  • TBR1
  • autism
  • cortex
  • developmental biology
  • genetics
  • mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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