The genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorder
involves the interplay of common and rare variation and their impact on hundreds of genes.
Using exome sequencing, analysis of rare coding
variation in 3,871 autism cases and 9,937 ancestry-matched or parental controls implicates 22 autosomal genes at a false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05, and a set of 107 autosomal genes strongly enriched for those likely to affect risk (FDR < 0.30). These 107 genes, which show unusual evolutionary constraint against mutations, incur de novo loss-of-function
mutations in over 5% of autistic subjects.
Many of the genes implicated encode proteins for synaptic, transcriptional, and chromatin remodeling pathways. These include voltage-gated ion channels
regulating propagation of action potentials, pacemaking, and excitability-transcription coupling, as well as histone-modifying enzymes and chromatin remodelers,
prominently histone post-translational modifications involving lysine methylation/demethylation.