Human Cerebral Organoids Reveal Early Spatiotemporal Dynamics and Pharmacological Responses of UBE3A

Authors: 
Sen, D. - Presenter, North Carolina State University
Keung, A. J., North Carolina State University
Drobna, Z., North Carolina State University
Angelman Syndrome is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by delayed development, intellectual disability, speech impairment, and ataxia. It results from the loss of UBE3A protein, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, in neurons of the brain. UBE3A is paternally imprinted in neurons and despite the dynamic spatiotemporal expression of UBE3A observed in rodents and the potential clinical importance of when and where it is expressed, its expression pattern in humans remains unknown. This reflects a common challenge of studying human neurodevelopment: prenatal periods are hard to access experimentally. In this work, human cerebral organoids reveal a change from weak to strong UBE3A in neuronal nuclei within 3 weeks of culture. Angelman Syndrome hiPSC derived organoids also exhibit early imprinting of paternal UBE3A, with topoisomerase inhibitors partially rescuing UBE3A levels and calcium transient phenotypes. This work establishes human cerebral organoids as an important model for studying UBE3A and motivates their broader use in understanding complex spatiotemporal and epigenetic molecular events and neurodevelopmental disorders.