Brain. 2023 Jul 17:awad235. doi: 10.1093/brain/awad235. Online ahead of print.
SLC4A10 is a plasma-membrane bound transporter which utilizes the Na+ gradient to drive cellular HCO3- uptake, thus mediating acid extrusion. In the mammalian brain, SLC4A10 is expressed in principal neurons and interneurons, as well as in epithelial cells of the choroid plexus, the organ regulating the production of cerebrospinal fluid. Using next generation sequencing on samples from five unrelated families encompassing ten affected individuals, we show that biallelic SLC4A10 loss-of-function variants cause a clinically recognizable neurodevelopmental disorder in humans. The cardinal clinical features of the condition include hypotonia in infancy, delayed psychomotor development across all domains and typically severe intellectual impairment. Affected individuals commonly display traits associated with autistic spectrum disorders including anxiety, hyperactivity and stereotyped movements. In two cases isolated episodes of seizures were reported in the first few years of life, and a further affected child displayed bitemporal epileptogenic discharges on EEG without overt clinical seizures. While occipitofrontal circumference was reported to be normal at birth, progressive postnatal microcephaly evolved in 7 out of 10 affected individuals. Neuroradiological features included a relative preservation of brain volume compared to occipitofrontal circumference, characteristic narrow sometimes ‘slit-like’ lateral ventricles and corpus callosum abnormalities. Slc4a10 -/- mice, deficient for SLC4A10, also display small lateral brain ventricles and mild behavioral abnormalities including delayed habituation and alterations in the 2-object novel object recognition task. Collapsed brain ventricles in both Slc4a10-/- mice and affected individuals suggests an important role of SLC4A10 in the production of the cerebrospinal fluid. However, it is notable that despite diverse roles of the cerebrospinal fluid in the developing and adult brain, the cortex of Slc4a10-/- mice appears grossly intact. Co-staining with synaptic markers revealed that in neurons, SLC4A10 localizes to inhibitory, but not excitatory, presynapses. These findings are supported by our functional studies which show the release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA is compromised in Slc4a10-/- mice, while the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate is preserved. Manipulation of intracellular pH partially rescues GABA release. Together our studies define a novel characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder associated with biallelic pathogenic variants in SLC4A10 and highlight the importance of further analyses of the consequences of SLC4A10 loss-of-function for brain development, synaptic transmission and network properties.