Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disease associated with various gene mutations. Recent genetic and clinical studies report that mutations of the epigenetic gene ASH1L are highly associated with human ASD and intellectual disability (ID). However, the causal link between ASH1L mutations and ASD/ID remains undetermined. Here we show loss of ASH1L in developing mouse brains is sufficient to cause multiple developmental defects, core autistic-like behaviors, and impaired cognitive memory. Gene expression analyses uncover critical roles of ASH1L in regulating gene expression during neural cell development. Thus, our study establishes a new ASD/ID mouse model revealing the critical function of ASH1L in normal brain development, a causality between Ash1L mutations and ASD/ID-like behaviors in mice, and potential molecular mechanisms linking Ash1L mutations to brain functional abnormalities.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience