Familial deletion within NLGN4 associated with autism and Tourette syndrome.
Neuroligin 4 (NLGN4) is a member of a cell adhesion protein family that appears to play a role in the maturation and function of neuronal synapses. Mutations in the X-linked NLGN4 gene are a potential cause of autistic spectrum disorders, and mutations have been reported in several patients with autism, Asperger syndrome, and mental retardation. We describe here a family with a wide variation in neuropsychiatric illness associated with a deletion of exons 4, 5, and 6 of NLGN4. The proband is an autistic boy with a motor tic. His brother has Tourette syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Their mother, a carrier, has a learning disorder, anxiety, and depression. This family demonstrates that NLGN4 mutations can be associated with a wide spectrum of neuropsychiatric conditions and that carriers may be affected with milder symptoms.