Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 233–246 | Cite as

The E646D-ATP13A4 Mutation Associated with Autism Reveals a Defect in Calcium Regulation

  • Janaki Vallipuram
  • Jeffrey Grenville
  • Dorota A. CrawfordEmail author
Original Research


ATP13A4 is a member of the subfamily of P5-type ATPases. P5-type ATPases are the least studied of the P-type ATPase subfamilies with no ion specificities assigned to them. In order to elucidate ATP13A4 function, we studied the protein’s subcellular localization and tested whether it is involved in calcium regulation. The intracellular calcium concentration was measured in COS-7 cells over-expressing mouse ATP13A4 using ratiometric calcium imaging with fura-2 AM as a calcium indicator. The results of this study show that ATP13A4 is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Furthermore, we demonstrate that over-expression of ATP13A4 in COS-7 cells caused a significant increase in the intracellular calcium level. Interestingly, over-expression of the sequence variant containing a substitution of aspartic acid for a glutamic acid (E646D), previously found in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), did not increase the free cellular calcium likely due to the mutation. In this study, we also describe the expression of ATP13A4 during mouse embryonic development. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that ATP13A4 was highly expressed at embryonic days 15–17, when neurogenesis takes place. The present study is the first to provide further insights into the biological role of a P5-type ATPase. Our results demonstrate that ATP13A4 may be involved in calcium regulation and that its expression is developmentally regulated. Overall, this study provides support for the hypothesis that ATP13A4 may play a vital role in the developing nervous system and its impairment can contribute to the symptoms seen in ASD.


P5-type ATPase ATP13A4 ATPase fura-2 AM Intracellular free calcium Ratiometric calcium imaging Endoplasmic reticulum Autism Language delay 



This study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). We thank Dr. Thomas Hawke for providing mouse brain samples.

Supplementary material

10571_2009_9445_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (89 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 89 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janaki Vallipuram
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Grenville
    • 2
  • Dorota A. Crawford
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of Kinesiology and Health ScienceYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Neuroscience Graduate Diploma ProgramYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of HealthYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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