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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.25.542312

Mouse models of SYNGAP1-related intellectual disability

Y.Araki E. E. Gerber K. E. Rajkovich ...+4 R. L. Huganir
SYNGAP1 is a Ras-GTPase activating protein highly enriched at excitatory synapses in the brain. De novo loss-of-function mutations in SYNGAP1 are a major cause of genetically defined neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). These mutations are highly penetrant and cause SYNGAP1-related intellectual disability (SRID), an NDD characterized by cognitive impairment, social deficits, early-onset seizures, and sleep disturbances. Studies in rodent neurons have shown that Syngap1 regulates developing excitatory synapse structure and function, and heterozygous Syngap1 knockout mice have deficits in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, and have seizures. However, how specific SYNGAP1 mutations found in humans lead to disease has not been investigated in vivo. To explore this, we utilized CRISPR-Cas9 system to generate knock-in mouse models with two distinct known causal variants of SRID including a frameshift mutation leading to a premature stop codon, SYNGAP1; L813RfsX22, and a single- nucleotide mutation in an intron that creates a cryptic splice acceptor site leading to premature stop codon, SYNGAP1; c.3583-9G>A. While reduction in Syngap1 mRNA varies from 30-50% depending on the specific mutation, both models show ~50% reduction in Syngap1 protein, have deficits in synaptic plasticity, and recapitulate key features of SRID including hyperactivity and impaired working memory. These data suggest that half the amount of SYNGAP1 protein is key to the pathogenesis of SRID. These results provide a resource and establish a framework for the development of therapeutic strategies for this disorder.