Paving Therapeutic Avenues for FOXG1 Syndrome: Untangling Genotypes and Phenotypes from a Molecular Perspective

Akol I, Gather F, Vogel T.
Preprint from
29 November 2021
Development of the central nervous system (CNS) depends on accurate spatiotemporal control of signalling pathways and transcription programs. Forkhead Box G1 (FOXG1) is one of the master regulators that plays fundamental roles in forebrain development, from the timing of neurogenesis to the patterning of the cerebral cortex. Mutations in the FOXG1 gene cause a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called FOXG1 syndrome, also known as congenital form of Rett syndrome. Patients presenting with FOXG1 syndrome manifest a spectrum of phenotypes ranging from severe cognitive dysfunction and microcephaly to social withdrawal and communication deficits with varying severities. To develop and improve therapeutic interventions, there has been considerable progress towards unravelling the multi-faceted functions of FOXG1 in neurodevelopment and pathogenesis of FOXG1 syndrome. Moreover, recent advances in genome editing and stem cell technologies, as well as increased yield of information from high throughput omics opened promising and important new avenues in FOXG1 research. In this review, we provide a summary of clinical features and emerging molecular mechanisms underlying FOXG1 syndrome, and explore disease-modelling approaches in animals and human-based systems to highlight prospects of research and possible clinical interventions.