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Members of the chromodomain-helicase-DNA binding (CHD) protein family are chromatin remodelers critically implicated in human pathologies, with CHD6 being one of its least studied members. Here, we discovered a de novo CHD6 missense mutation in a patient clinically presenting the rare Hallermann-Streiff syndrome (HSS). We used genome editing to generate isogenic iPSC lines and model HSS in relevant cell types. We show that CHD6 binds a cohort of autophagy and stress response genes across cell types. The HSS-mutation affects CHD6 protein folding and impairs its ability to recruit co-factors in response to DNA damage or autophagy stimulation. This leads to an accumulation of DNA damage burden and to senescence-like phenotypes. By combining genomics and functional assays, we describe for the first time a molecular mechanism for the chromatin control of autophagic flux and genotoxic stress surveillance that applies broadly to human cell types and explains HSS onset.

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