Postnatal expression profiles of atypical cadherin FAT1 suggest its role in autism

Jeannine A. Frei, Cheryl J. Brandenburg, Jonathan E. Nestor, Didier M. Hodzic, Celine Plachez, Helen McNeill, Derek M. Dykxhoorn, Michael W. Nestor, Gene J. Blatt, Yu Chih Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Genetic studies have linked FAT1 (FATatypical cadherin 1) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, the role that FAT1 plays in ASD remains unknown. In mice, the function of Fat1 has been primarily implicated in embryonic nervous system development with less known about its role in postnatal development. We show for the first time that FAT1 protein is expressed in mouse postnatal brains and is enriched in the cerebellum, where it localizes to granule neurons and Golgi cells in the granule layer, as well as inhibitory neurons in the molecular layer. Furthermore, subcellular characterization revealed FAT1 localization in neurites and soma of granule neurons, as well as being present in the synaptic plasma membrane and postsynaptic densities. Interestingly, FAT1 expression was decreased in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs) from individuals with ASD. These findings suggest a novel role for FAT1 in postnatal development and may be particularly important for cerebellum function. As the cerebellum is one of the vulnerable brain regions in ASD, our study warrants further investigation of FAT1 in the disease etiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbio056457
JournalBiology Open
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Autism
  • Cadherin
  • Cerebellum
  • FAT1
  • Granule cells
  • Neural precursor cells


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