Glutamate receptor interacting protein 1 (GRIP1) is a neuronal scaffolding protein that interacts directly with the C termini of glutamate receptors 2/3 (GluA2/3) via its PDZ domains 4 to 6 (PDZ4-6). We found an association (P<0.05) of a SNP within the PDZ4-6 genomic region with autism by genotyping autistic patients (n=480) and matched controls (n=480). Parallel sequencing identified five rare missense variants within or near PDZ4-6 only in the autism cohort, resulting in a higher cumulative mutation load (P=0.032). Two variants correlated with a more severe deficit in reciprocal social interaction in affected sibling pairs from proband families. These variants were associated with altered interactions with GluA2/3 and faster recycling and increased surface distribution of GluA2 in neurons, suggesting gain-of-function because GRIP1/2 deficiency showed opposite phenotypes. Grip1/2 knockout mice exhibited increased sociability and impaired prepulse inhibition. These results support a role for GRIP in social behavior and implicate GRIP1 variants in modulating autistic phenotype.
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