Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

A Functional MiR-124 Binding-Site Polymorphism in IQGAP1 Affects Human Cognitive Performance (#664)

Lixin Yang 1 , Bing Su 1
  1. Kunming institute of zoology , Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wu Hua, YUN NAN, China

As a product of the unique evolution of the human brain, human cognitive performance is largely a collection of heritable traits. Rather surprisingly, to date there have been no reported cases to highlight genes that underwent adaptive evolution in humans and which carry polymorphisms that have a marked effect on cognitive performance. IQ motif containing GTPase activating protein 1 (IQGAP1), a scaffold protein, affects learning and memory in a dose-dependent manner. Its expression is regulated by miR-124 through the binding sites in the 3'UTR, where a SNP (rs1042538) exists in the core-binding motif. Here we showed that this SNP can influence the miR-target interaction both in vitro and in vivo. Individuals carrying the derived T alleles have higher IQGAP1 expression in the brain as compared to the ancestral A allele carriers. We bserved a significant and male-specific association between rs1042538 and tactile performances in two independent cohorts. Males with the derived allele displayed higher tactual performances as compared to those with the ancestral allele. Furthermore, we found a highly diverged allele-frequency distribution of rs1042538 among world human populations, likely caused by natural selection and/or recent population expansion. These results suggest that current human populations still carry sequence variations that affect cognitive performances and that these genetic variants may likely have been subject to comparatively recent natural selection.