Cell-type-specific profiling of human cellular models of fragile X syndrome reveal PI3K-dependent defects in translation and neurogenesis

Nisha Raj, Zachary T. McEachin, William Harousseau, Ying Zhou, Feiran Zhang, Megan E. Merritt-Garza, J. Matthew Taliaferro, Magdalena Kalinowska, Samuele G. Marro, Chadwick M. Hales, Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, Marisol W. Wolf-Ochoa, Veronica Martinez-Cerdeño, Marius Wernig, Lu Chen, Eric Klann, Stephen T. Warren, Peng Jin, Zhexing Wen, Gary J. Bassell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Transcriptional silencing of the FMR1 gene in fragile X syndrome (FXS) leads to the loss of the RNA-binding protein FMRP. In addition to regulating mRNA translation and protein synthesis, emerging evidence suggests that FMRP acts to coordinate proliferation and differentiation during early neural development. However, whether loss of FMRP-mediated translational control is related to impaired cell fate specification in the developing human brain remains unknown. Here, we use human patient induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural progenitor cells and organoids to model neurogenesis in FXS. We developed a high-throughput, in vitro assay that allows for the simultaneous quantification of protein synthesis and proliferation within defined neural subpopulations. We demonstrate that abnormal protein synthesis in FXS is coupled to altered cellular decisions to favor proliferative over neurogenic cell fates during early development. Furthermore, pharmacologic inhibition of elevated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling corrects both excess protein synthesis and cell proliferation in a subset of patient neural cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108991
JournalCell Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2021


  • FMRP
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • autism
  • flow cytometry
  • iPSCs
  • neural stem cells
  • neurogenesis
  • protein synthesis
  • translation


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