The packaging of DNA into chromatin determines the transcriptional potential of cells and is central to eukaryotic gene regulation. Recent sequencing of patient mutations has linked de novo loss-of-function mutations to chromatin remodeling factors with specific, causal roles in neurodevelopmental disorders. Characterizing cellular and molecular phenotypes arising from haploinsufficiency of chromatin remodeling factors could reveal convergent mechanisms of pathology. Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 8 (CHD8) encodes a chromatin remodeling factor gene and has among the highest de novo loss-of-function mutations rates in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Mutations to CHD8 are expected to drive neurodevelopmental pathology through global disruptions to gene expression and chromatin state, however, mechanisms associated with CHD8 function have yet to be fully elucidated. We analyzed published transcriptomic and epigenomic data across CHD8 in vitro and in vivo knockdown and knockout models to identify convergent mechanisms of gene regulation by CHD8. We found reproducible high-affinity interactions of CHD8 near promoters of genes necessary for basic cell functions and gene regulation, especially chromatin organization and RNA processing genes. Overlap between CHD8 interaction and differential expression suggests that reduced dosage of CHD8 directly relates to decreased expression of these genes. In addition, genes important for neuronal development and function showed consistent dysregulation, though there was a reduced rate and decreased affinity for CHD8 interactions near these genes. This meta-analysis verifies CHD8 as a critical regulator of gene expression and reveals a consistent set of high affinity CHD8 interaction targets observed across human and mouse in vivo and in vitro studies. Our findings highlight novel core functions of CHD8 and indicate direct and downstream gene regulatory impacts that are likely to be associated with neuropathology underlying CHD8-associated neurodevelopmental disorder.
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