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Hum Mol Genet January 15, 2020; 29 (2): 305-319.
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The histone methyltransferase KMT2D, mutated in Kabuki syndrome patients, is required for neural crest cell formation and migration.

Schwenty-Lara J , Nehl D , Borchers A .

Kabuki syndrome is an autosomal dominant developmental disorder with high similarities to CHARGE syndrome. It is characterized by a typical facial gestalt in combination with short stature, intellectual disability, skeletal findings and additional features like cardiac and urogenital malformations, cleft palate, hearing loss and ophthalmological anomalies. The major cause of Kabuki syndrome are mutations in KMT2D, a gene encoding a histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferase belonging to the group of chromatin modifiers. Here we provide evidence that Kabuki syndrome is a neurocrestopathy, by showing that Kmt2d loss-of-function inhibits specific steps of neural crest (NC) development. Using the Xenopus model system, we find that Kmt2d loss-of-function recapitulates major features of Kabuki syndrome including severe craniofacial malformations. A detailed marker analysis revealed defects in NC formation as well as migration. Transplantation experiments confirm that Kmt2d function is required in NC cells. Furthermore, analyzing in vivo and in vitro NC migration behavior demonstrates that Kmt2d is necessary for cell dispersion but not protrusion formation of migrating NC cells. Importantly, Kmt2d knockdown correlates with a decrease in H3K4 monomethylation and H3K27 acetylation supporting a role of Kmt2d in the transcriptional activation of target genes. Consistently, using a candidate approach, we find that Kmt2d loss-of-function inhibits Xenopus Sema3F expression, and overexpression of Sema3F can partially rescue Kmt2d loss-of-function defects. Taken together, our data reveal novel functions of Kmt2d in multiple steps of NC development and support the hypothesis that major features of Kabuki syndrome are caused by defects in NC development.

PubMed ID: 31813957
PMC ID: PMC7003132
Article link: Hum Mol Genet

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: fn1 foxd3 h2bc21 kmt2d krt12.4 npb pax3 sema3f snai2 sox2 twist1
GO keywords: neural crest cell migration [+]
Morpholinos: kmt2d MO1 kmt2d MO2

Disease Ontology terms: CHARGE syndrome [+]
Phenotypes: Xla Wt + kmt2d MO (Fig 1 C row2 col1) [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Adam, Kabuki syndrome: a review. 2005, Pubmed