Spatio-temporal Coexpression Networks of Autism Genes

Hundreds of genes have been implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, understanding how these functionally diverse genes can all be associated to ASD has proved challenging. We used the BrainSpan atlas ( of gene expression in the developing human brain to identify convergent biological processes between a heterogeneous set of autism-related genes. Using differential co-expression networks of autism-related genes and genome-wide co-expression network analysis, we found that autism-related genes are associated to synaptogenesis, apoptosis, GABA-ergic neurons, mitochondrial function, protein translation, and ubiquitination.

Associated Researchers

  • Ahmed Mahfouz
  • Mark N. Ziats (NIH, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Cambridge)
  • Owen M. Rennert (NIH)
  • Boudewijn P.F. Lelieveldt
  • Marcel J.T. Reinders (TU Delft)


  • Mahfouz A, Ziats MN, Rennert OM, Lelieveldt BPFF, Reinders MJTT (2015) Shared Pathways Among Autism Candidate Genes Determined by Co-expression Network Analysis of the Developing Human Brain Transcriptome. J Mol Neurosci 57(4):580–594