Neurodevelopmental disorder-associated ZBTB20 gene variants affect dendritic and synaptic structure

Kelly A. Jones, Yue Luo, Lynn Dukes-Rimsky, Deepak P. Srivastava, Richa Koul-Tewari, Theron A. Russell, Lauren P. Shapiro, Anand K. Srivastava*, Peter Penzes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Dendritic spine morphology and dendritic arborization are key determinants of neuronal connectivity and play critical roles in learning, memory and behavior function. Recently, defects of ZBTB20, a BTB and zinc finger domain containing transcriptional repressor, have been implicated in a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders, including intellectual disability and autism. Here we show distinct effects of expression of two major isoforms, long and short, of ZBTB20, and its neurodevelopmental disorder-linked variants, on dendritic architecture of cultured rat cortical pyramidal neurons. The N-terminal of ZBTB20 showed a role in regulating dendritic spine morphology. Two ZBTB20 single nucleotide variants, located at the N-terminal and central regions of the protein and potentially conferring autism risk, altered dendritic spine morphology. In contrast, a single nucleotide variant identified in patients with intellectual disability and located at the C-terminus of ZBTB20 affected dendritic arborization and dendritic length but had no effect on dendritic spine morphology. Furthermore, truncation of the extreme C-terminus of ZBTB20 caused spine and dendritic morphological changes that were similar but distinct from those caused by the C-terminal variant. Taken together, our study suggests ZBTB20's role in dendritic and synaptic structure and provide possible mechanisms of its effect in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0203760
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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