17p13.3 microduplication syndrome is a newly identified genetic disorder characterized by duplications in the 17p13.3 chromosome locus, resulting in a variety of disorders including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Importantly, a minimum duplication region has been defined, and this region exclusively contains the gene encoding 14-3-3ε. Furthermore, duplication of this minimum region is strongly associated with the appearance of ASD in human patients, thus implicating the overexpression of 14-3-3ε in ASD. Using in vitro and in vivo techniques, we have found that 14-3-3ε binds to the microtubule binding protein doublecortin preventing its degradation. We also found that 14-3-3ε overexpression disrupts neurite formation by preventing the invasion of microtubules into primitive neurites, which can be rescued by the knockdown of doublecortin. To analyse the function of 14-3-3ε in neurite formation, we used 14-3-3ε flox mice and found that 14-3-3ε deficiency results in an increase in neurite formation. Our findings provide the first evidence of cellular pathology in 17p13.3 microduplication syndrome.

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