METTL23, a transcriptional partner of GABPA, is essential for human cognition

Rachel E. Reiff, Bassam R. Ali, Byron Baron, Timothy W. Yu, Salma Ben-Salem, Michael E. Coulter, Christian R. Schubert, R. Sean Hill, Nadia A. Akawi, Banan Al-Younes, Namik Kaya, Gilad D. Evrony, Muna Al-Saffar, Jillian M. Felie, Jennifer N. Partlow, Christine M. Sunu, Pierre Schembri-Wismayer, Fowzan S. Alkuraya, Brian F. Meyer, Christopher A. WalshLihadh Al-Gazali, Ganeshwaran H. Mochida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Whereas many genes associated with intellectual disability (ID) encode synaptic proteins, transcriptional defects leading to ID are less well understood. We studied a large, consanguineous pedigree of Arab origin with seven members affected with ID and mild dysmorphic features. Homozygosity mapping and linkage analysis identified a candidate region on chromosome 17 with a maximum multipoint logarithm of odds score of 6.01. Targeted high-throughput sequencing of the exons in the candidate region identified a homozygous 4-bp deletion (c.169_172delCACT) in the METTL23 (methyltransferase like 23) gene, which is predicted to result in a frameshift and premature truncation (p.His57Valfs*11). Overexpressed METTL23 protein localized to both nucleus and cytoplasm, and physically interacted with GABPA (GA-binding protein transcription factor, alpha subunit). GABP, of which GABPA is a component, is known to regulate the expression of genes such as THPO (thrombopoietin) and ATP5B (ATP synthase, H1 transporting, mitochondrial F1 complex, beta polypeptide) and is implicated in a wide variety of important cellular functions. Overexpression of METTL23 resulted in increased transcriptional activity at the THPO promoter, whereas knockdown of METTL23 withsiRNAresulted in decreased expression ofATP5B, thus revealing the importance ofMETTL23as a regulator of GABPA function. The METTL23 mutation highlights a new transcriptional pathway underlying human intellectual function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddu054
Pages (from-to)3456-3466
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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