Background: ADNP is essential for embryonic development. As such, de novo ADNP mutations lead to an intractable autism/intellectual disability syndrome requiring investigation. Methods: Mimicking humans, CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)–Cas9 editing produced mice carrying heterozygous Adnp p.Tyr718∗ (Tyr), a paralog of the most common ADNP syndrome mutation. Phenotypic rescue was validated by treatment with the microtubule/autophagy-protective ADNP fragment NAPVSIPQ (NAP). Results: RNA sequencing of spleens, representing a peripheral biomarker source, revealed Tyr-specific sex differences (e.g., cell cycle), accentuated in females (with significant effects on antigen processing and cellular senescence) and corrected by NAP. Differentially expressed, NAP-correctable transcripts, including the autophagy and microbiome resilience–linked FOXO3, were also deregulated in human patient-derived ADNP-mutated lymphoblastoid cells. There were also Tyr sex-specific microbiota signatures. Phenotypically, Tyr mice, similar to patients with ADNP syndrome, exhibited delayed development coupled with sex-dependent gait defects. Speech acquisition delays paralleled sex-specific mouse syntax abnormalities. Anatomically, dendritic spine densities/morphologies were decreased with NAP amelioration. These findings were replicated in the Adnp+/− mouse, including Foxo3 deregulation, required for dendritic spine formation. Grooming duration and nociception threshold (autistic traits) were significantly affected only in males. Early-onset tauopathy was accentuated in males (hippocampus and visual cortex), mimicking humans, and was paralleled by impaired visual evoked potentials and correction by acute NAP treatment. Conclusions: Tyr mice model ADNP syndrome pathology. The newly discovered ADNP/NAP target FOXO3 controls the autophagy initiator LC3 (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3), with known ADNP binding to LC3 augmented by NAP, protecting against tauopathy. NAP amelioration attests to specificity, with potential for drug development targeting accessible biomarkers.
- Tyr Adnpmouse