Chd8 haploinsufficiency impairs early brain development and protein homeostasis later in life.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8 (Chd8) is a high-confidence risk gene for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, how Chd8 haploinsufficiency impairs gene expression in the brain and impacts behavior at different stages of life is unknown. METHODS:We generated a mutant mouse line with an ASD-linked loss-of-function mutation in Chd8 (V986*; stop codon mutation). We examined the behavior of Chd8 mutant mice along with transcriptional changes in the cerebral cortex as a function of age, with a focus on one embryonic (E14.5) and three postnatal ages (1, 6, and 12?months). RESULTS:Chd8V986*/+ mutant mice displayed macrocephaly, reduced rearing responses and reduced center time in the open field, and enhanced social novelty preference. Behavioral phenotypes were more evident in Chd8V986*/+ mutant mice at 1?year of age. Pup survival was reduced in wild-type x Chd8V986*/+ crosses when the mutant parent was female. Transcriptomic analyses indicated that pathways associated with synaptic and neuronal projections and sodium channel activity were reduced in the cortex of embryonic Chd8V986*/+ mice and then equalized relative to wild-type mice in the postnatal period. At 12?months of age, expression of genes associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, chaperone-mediated protein folding, and the unfolded protein response (UPR) were reduced in Chd8V986*/+ mice, whereas genes associated with the c-MET signaling pathway were increased in expression. LIMITATIONS:It is unclear whether the transcriptional changes observed with age in Chd8V986*/+ mice reflect a direct effect of CHD8-regulated gene expression, or if CHD8 indirectly affects the expression of UPR/ER stress genes in adult mice as a consequence of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS:Collectively, these data suggest that UPR/ER stress pathways are reduced in the cerebral cortex of aged Chd8V986*/+ mice. Our study uncovers neurodevelopmental and age-related phenotypes in Chd8V986*/+ mice and highlights the importance of controlling for age when studying Chd8 haploinsufficient mice.
Project description:Truncating CHD8 mutations are amongst the highest confidence risk factors for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) identified to date. Here, we report that Chd8 heterozygous mice display increased brain size, motor delay, hypertelorism, pronounced hypoactivity, and anomalous responses to social stimuli. Whereas gene expression in the neocortex is only mildly affected at midgestation, over 600 genes are differentially expressed in the early postnatal neocortex. Genes involved in cell adhesion and axon guidance are particularly prominent amongst the downregulated transcripts. Resting-state functional MRI identified increased synchronized activity in cortico-hippocampal and auditory-parietal networks in Chd8 heterozygous mutant mice, implicating altered connectivity as a potential mechanism underlying the behavioral phenotypes. Together, these data suggest that altered brain growth and diminished expression of important neurodevelopmental genes that regulate long-range brain wiring are followed by distinctive anomalies in functional brain connectivity in Chd8+/- mice. Human imaging studies have reported altered functional connectivity in ASD patients, with long-range under-connectivity seemingly more frequent. Our data suggest that CHD8 haploinsufficiency represents a specific subtype of ASD where neuropsychiatric symptoms are underpinned by long-range over-connectivity.
Project description:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with core symptoms that include poor social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. Several ASD mouse models exhibit impaired social interaction, anxiety-like behavior, and elevated perseveration. Large-scale whole exome sequencing studies identified many genes putatively associated with ASD. Like chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 8 (CHD8), the most frequently mutated gene in individuals with ASD, the candidate gene AT-rich interaction domain 1B (ARID1B) encodes a chromatin remodeling factor. Arid1b heterozygous knockout (hKO) mice exhibited ASD-like traits related to social behavior, anxiety, and perseveration, in addition to associated features reported in some cases of ASD, such as reduced weight, impaired motor coordination, and hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus was present in 5 of 91 hKO mice, while it was not observed in wild-type littermates (0 of 188). Genome-wide gene expression patterns in Arid1b hKO mice were similar to those in ASD patients and Chd8-haploinsufficient mice, an ASD model, and to developmental changes in gene expression in fast-spiking cells in the mouse brain. Our results suggest that Arid1b haploinsufficiency causes ASD-like phenotypes in mice.
Project description:Recent studies implicate chromatin modifiers in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the identification of recurrent de novo loss of function mutations in affected individuals. ASD risk genes are co-expressed in human midfetal cortex, suggesting that ASD risk genes converge in specific regulatory networks during neurodevelopment. To elucidate such networks, we identify genes targeted by CHD8, a chromodomain helicase strongly associated with ASD, in human midfetal brain, human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and embryonic mouse cortex. CHD8 targets are strongly enriched for other ASD risk genes in both human and mouse neurodevelopment, and converge in ASD-associated co-expression networks in human midfetal cortex. CHD8 knockdown in hNSCs results in dysregulation of ASD risk genes directly targeted by CHD8. Integration of CHD8-binding data into ASD risk models improves detection of risk genes. These results suggest loss of CHD8 contributes to ASD by perturbing an ancient gene regulatory network during human brain development.
Project description:Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with a strong but complex genetic component. Recent family based exome-sequencing strategies have identified recurrent de novo mutations at specific genes, providing strong evidence for ASD risk, but also highlighting the extreme genetic heterogeneity of the disorder. However, disruptions in these genes converge on key molecular pathways early in development. In particular, functional enrichment analyses have found that there is a bias toward genes involved in transcriptional regulation, such as chromatin modifiers. Here we review recent genetic, animal model, co-expression network, and functional genomics studies relating to the high confidence ASD risk gene, CHD8. CHD8, a chromatin remodeling factor, may serve as a "master regulator" of a common ASD etiology. Individuals with a CHD8 mutation show an ASD subtype that includes similar physical characteristics, such as macrocephaly and prolonged GI problems including recurrent constipation. Similarly, animal models of CHD8 disruption exhibit enlarged head circumference and reduced gut motility phenotypes. Systems biology approaches suggest CHD8 and other candidate ASD risk genes are enriched during mid-fetal development, which may represent a critical time window in ASD etiology. Transcription and CHD8 binding site profiles from cell and primary tissue models of early development indicate that CHD8 may also positively regulate other candidate ASD risk genes through both direct and indirect means. However, continued study is needed to elucidate the mechanism of regulation as well as identify which CHD8 targets are most relevant to ASD risk. Overall, these initial studies suggest the potential for common ASD etiologies and the development of personalized treatments in the future.
Project description:BackgroundMutations in CHD8, chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8, are among the most replicated and common findings in genetic studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The CHD8 protein is believed to act as a transcriptional regulator by remodeling chromatin structure and recruiting histone H1 to target genes. The mechanism by which deficiency of CHD8 causes ASD has not been fully elucidated.MethodsWe examined the expression of CHD8 in human and mouse brains using both immunohistochemistry and RNA in situ hybridization. We performed in utero electroporation, neuronal culture, and biochemical analysis using RNAi to examine the functional consequences of CHD8 deficiency.ResultsWe discovered that CHD8 is expressed highly in neurons and at low levels in glia cells in both humans and mice. Specifically, CHD8 is localized predominately in the nucleus of both MAP2 and parvalbumin-positive neurons. In the developing mouse brain, expression of Chd8 peaks from E16 to E18 and then decreases significantly at P14 to adulthood. Knockdown of Chd8 results in reduced axon and dendritic growth, disruption of axon projections to the contralateral cortex, and delayed neuronal migration at E18.5 which recovers by P3 and P7.ConclusionOur findings indicate an important role for CHD8 in dendritic and axon development and neuronal migration and thus offer novel insights to further dissect the underlying molecular and circuit mechanisms of ASD caused by CHD8 deficiency.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s13229-018-0244-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Project description:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous disease, but genetically defined models can provide an entry point to studying the molecular underpinnings of this disorder. We generated germline mutant mice with loss-of-function mutations in Chd8, a de novo mutation strongly associated with ASD, and demonstrate that these mice display hallmark ASD behaviors, macrocephaly, and craniofacial abnormalities similar to patient phenotypes. Chd8+/- mice display a broad, brain-region-specific dysregulation of major regulatory and cellular processes, most notably histone and chromatin modification, mRNA and protein processing, Wnt signaling, and cell-cycle regulation. We also find altered synaptic physiology in medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens. Perturbation of Chd8 in adult mice recapitulates improved acquired motor learning behavior found in Chd8+/- animals, suggesting a role for CHD8 in adult striatal circuits. These results support a mechanism linking chromatin modification to striatal dysfunction and the molecular pathology of ASD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders. Genetically based subtype identification may prove more beneficial not only in illuminating the course and prognosis, but also for individualized treatment targets of an ASD sub-group. Increasing evidence has shown that de novo loss-of-function mutations in the chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8 (CHD8) gene are associated with an ASD sub-group. CASE PRESENTATION:Here we describe two ASD cases in children with mild intellectual disability, early motor deficits, and speech delay, without distinct structural or EEG brain anomalies. Exome sequencing revealed a novel heterozygous nonsense/missense mutations(c.2647C?>?A/p.E883X and c.1677C?>?A/p.M559I respectively) in CHD8 gene. CONCLUSIONS:There were few cases in the literature reporting de novo mutation of CHD8 in ASD. As demonstrated in our patients, along with other previously reported studies support that disruption of the CHD8 gene represents a specific genetic sub-type of ASD.
Project description:Whole-exome sequencing studies have implicated chromatin modifiers and transcriptional regulators in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the identification of de novo loss of function mutations in affected individuals. Many of these genes are co-expressed in mid-fetal human cortex, suggesting ASD risk genes converge in regulatory networks that are perturbed in ASD during neurodevelopment. To elucidate such networks we mapped promoters and enhancers bound by the chromodomain helicase CHD8, which is strongly enriched in ASD-associated de novo loss of function mutations, using ChIP-seq in mid-fetal human brain, human neural stem cells (hNSCs), and embryonic mouse cortex. We find that CHD8 targets are strongly enriched for ASD risk genes that converge in ASD-associated co-expression networks in human midfetal cortex. CHD8 knockdown in hNSCs results in significant dysregulation of ASD risk genes targeted by CHD8, as well as additional genes important for neurodevelopment, including members of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Integration of CHD8 binding data with genetic and gene co-expression data in ASD risk models provides support for additional ASD risk genes. Together, our results suggest that loss of CHD8 function contributes to ASD through regulatory perturbation of other ASD risk genes during human cortical development. Two biological replicates for each ChIP with appropriate Input control Four biological replicates for each condition in knockdown experiments (Ctrl construct, Chd8 target C, and Chd8 target G)
Project description:We examined the impact of germline heterozygous frameshift Chd8 mutation on neurodevelopment in mice. Adult Chd8+/del5 mice exhibited cognitive impairment correlated with increased cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala volume, but displayed normal social interactions and no repetitive behaviors. Network analysis of neurodevelopmental gene expression revealed widespread transcriptional changes in Chd8+/del5 mice across pathways disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders, including neurogenesis, synaptic processes, and neuroimmune signaling. Among gene co-expression networks, we identified a module with peak expression in early brain development that featured dysregulation of genes enriched for promoter binding by Chd8 and associated with RNA processing, chromatin remodeling, and cell cycle. We validated increased neuronal proliferation and splicing alterations during Chd8+/del5 brain development. Our results show that Chd8+/del5 mice exhibit neurodevelopmental changes paralleling humans with CHD8 mutations and highlight widespread pathological consequences of Chd8 haploinsufficiency. Overall design: We examined RNA expression (RNA-sequencing) and Chd8 binding to the genome (ChIP-seq) from whole forebrain dissections of WT and germline heterozygous Chd8 mutant mice.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common and etiologically heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder. Although many genetic causes have been identified (> 200 ASD-risk genes), no single gene variant accounts for > 1% of all ASD cases. A role for epigenetic mechanisms in ASD etiology is supported by the fact that many ASD-risk genes function as epigenetic regulators and evidence that epigenetic dysregulation can interrupt normal brain development. Gene-specific DNAm profiles have been shown to assist in the interpretation of variants of unknown significance. Therefore, we investigated the epigenome in patients with ASD or two of the most common genomic variants conferring increased risk for ASD. Genome-wide DNA methylation (DNAm) was assessed using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 and MethylationEPIC arrays in blood from individuals with ASD of heterogeneous, undefined etiology (n = 52), and individuals with 16p11.2 deletions (16p11.2del, n = 9) or pathogenic variants in the chromatin modifier CHD8 (CHD8+/-, n = 7). RESULTS:DNAm patterns did not clearly distinguish heterogeneous ASD cases from controls. However, the homogeneous genetically-defined 16p11.2del and CHD8+/- subgroups each exhibited unique DNAm signatures that distinguished 16p11.2del or CHD8+/- individuals from each other and from heterogeneous ASD and control groups with high sensitivity and specificity. These signatures also classified additional 16p11.2del (n = 9) and CHD8 (n = 13) variants as pathogenic or benign. Our findings that DNAm alterations in each signature target unique genes in relevant biological pathways including neural development support their functional relevance. Furthermore, genes identified in our CHD8+/- DNAm signature in blood overlapped differentially expressed genes in CHD8+/- human-induced pluripotent cell-derived neurons and cerebral organoids from independent studies. CONCLUSIONS:DNAm signatures can provide clinical utility complementary to next-generation sequencing in the interpretation of variants of unknown significance. Our study constitutes a novel approach for ASD risk-associated molecular classification that elucidates the vital cross-talk between genetics and epigenetics in the etiology of ASD.