Table_4_The Promoter Regions of Intellectual Disability-Associated Genes Are Uniquely Enriched in LTR Sequences of the MER41 Primate-Specific Endogeno.XLSX (29.3 kB)
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Table_4_The Promoter Regions of Intellectual Disability-Associated Genes Are Uniquely Enriched in LTR Sequences of the MER41 Primate-Specific Endogenous Retrovirus: An Evolutionary Connection Between Immunity and Cognition.XLSX

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posted on 12.04.2019, 04:08 authored by Serge Nataf, Juan Uriagereka, Antonio Benitez-Burraco

Social behavior and neuronal connectivity in rodents have been shown to be shaped by the prototypical T lymphocyte-derived pro-inflammatory cytokine Interferon-gamma (IFNγ). It has also been demonstrated that STAT1 (Signal Transducer And Activator Of Transcription 1), a transcription factor (TF) crucially involved in the IFNγ pathway, binds consensus sequences that, in humans, are located with a high frequency in the LTRs (Long Terminal Repeats) of the MER41 family of primate-specific HERVs (Human Endogenous Retroviruses). However, the putative role of an IFNγ/STAT1/MER41 pathway in human cognition and/or behavior is still poorly documented. Here, we present evidence that the promoter regions of intellectual disability-associated genes are uniquely enriched in LTR sequences of the MER41 HERVs. This observation is specific to MER41 among more than 130 HERVs examined. Moreover, we have not found such a significant enrichment in the promoter regions of genes that associate with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or schizophrenia. Interestingly, ID-associated genes exhibit promoter-localized MER41 LTRs that harbor TF binding sites (TFBSs) for not only STAT1 but also other immune TFs such as, in particular, NFKB1 (Nuclear Factor Kappa B Subunit 1) and STAT3 (Signal Transducer And Activator Of Transcription 3). Moreover, IL-6 (Interleukin 6) rather than IFNγ, is identified as the main candidate cytokine regulating such an immune/MER41/cognition pathway. Of note, differences between humans and chimpanzees are observed regarding the insertion sites of MER41 LTRs in the promoter regions of ID-associated genes. Finally, a survey of the human proteome has allowed us to map a protein-protein network which links the identified immune/MER41/cognition pathway to FOXP2 (Forkhead Box P2), a key TF involved in the emergence of human speech. Our work suggests that together with the evolution of immune genes, the stepped self-domestication of MER41 in the genomes of primates could have contributed to cognitive evolution. We further propose that non-inherited forms of ID might result from the untimely or quantitatively inappropriate expression of immune signals, notably IL-6, that putatively regulate cognition-associated genes via promoter-localized MER41 LTRs.

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