Dysregulation of epigenetic processes involving histone methylation induces neurodevelopmental impairments and has been implicated in schizophrenia (SCZ) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Variants in the gene encoding lysine demethylase 4C (KDM4C) have been suggested to confer a risk for such disorders. However, rare genetic variants in KDM4C have not been fully evaluated, and the functional impact of the variants has not been studied using patient-derived cells. In this study, we conducted copy number variant (CNV) analysis in a Japanese sample set (2605 SCZ and 1141 ASD cases, and 2310 controls). We found evidence for significant associations between CNVs in KDM4C and SCZ (p = 0.003) and ASD (p = 0.04). We also observed a significant association between deletions in KDM4C and SCZ (corrected p = 0.04). Next, to explore the contribution of single nucleotide variants in KDM4C, we sequenced the coding exons in a second sample set (370 SCZ and 192 ASD cases) and detected 18 rare missense variants, including p.D160N within the JmjC domain of KDM4C. We, then, performed association analysis for p.D160N in a third sample set (1751 SCZ and 377 ASD cases, and 2276 controls), but did not find a statistical association with these disorders. Immunoblotting analysis using lymphoblastoid cell lines from a case with KDM4C deletion revealed reduced KDM4C protein expression and altered histone methylation patterns. In conclusion, this study strengthens the evidence for associations between KDM4C CNVs and these two disorders and for their potential functional effect on histone methylation patterns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry