Cell-type-specific neuroanatomy of cliques of autism-related genes in the mouse brain

Pascal Grange*, Idan Menashe, Michael Hawrylycz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Two cliques of genes identified computationally for their high co-expression in the mouse brain according to the Allen Brain Atlas, and for their enrichment in genes related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), have recently been shown to be highly co-expressed in the cerebellar cortex, compared to what could be expected by chance. Moreover, the expression of these cliques of genes is not homogeneous across the cerebellar cortex, and it has been noted that their expression pattern seems to highlight the granular layer. However, this observation was only made by eye, and recent advances in computational neuroanatomy allow to rank cell types in the mouse brain (characterized by their transcriptome profiles) according to the similarity between their spatial density profiles and the spatial expression profiles of the cliques. We establish by Monte Carlo simulation that with probability at least 99%, the expression profiles of the two cliques are more similar to the density profile of granule cells than 99% of the expression of cliques containing the same number of genes (Purkinje cells also score above 99% in one of the cliques). Thresholding the expression profiles shows that the signal is more intense in the granular layer. Finally, we work out pairs of cell types whose combined expression profiles are more similar to the expression profiles of the cliques than any single cell type. These pairs predominantly consist of one cortical pyramidal cell and one cerebellar cell (which can be either a granule cell or a Purkinje cell).

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2015


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cell types
  • Cerebellum
  • Computational neuroanatomy
  • Gene expression

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