Lysine methyl transferase 5B (KMT5B) has been recently highlighted as a risk gene in genetic studies of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), specifically, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID); yet, its role in the brain is not known. The goal of this work was to neurodevelopmentally characterize the effect(s) of KMT5B haploinsufficiency using a mouse model. A Kmt5b gene-trap mouse line was obtained from the Knockout Mouse Project. Wild type (WT) and heterozygous (HET) mice were subjected to a comprehensive neurodevelopmental test battery to assess reflexes, motor behavior, learning/memory, social behavior, repetitive movement, and common ASD comorbidities (obsessive compulsion, depression, and anxiety). Given the strong sex bias observed in the ASD patient population, we tested both a male and female cohort of animals and compared differences between genotypes and sexes. HET mice were significantly smaller than WT littermates starting at postnatal day 10 through young adulthood which was correlated with smaller brain size (i.e., microcephaly). This was more severe in males than females. HET male neonates also had delayed eye opening and significantly weaker reflexes than WT littermates. In young adults, significant differences between genotypes relative to anxiety, depression, fear, and extinction learning were observed. Interestingly, several sexually dimorphic differences were noted including increased repetitive grooming behavior in HET females and an increased latency to hot plate response in HET females versus a decreased latency in HET males. Lay Summary: Lysine methyl transferase 5B (KMT5B) has been recently highlighted as a risk gene in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), specifically, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID); yet its role in the brain is not known. Our study indicates that mice lacking one genomic copy of Kmt5b show deficits in neonatal reflexes, sociability, repetitive stress-induced grooming, changes in thermal pain sensing, decreased depression and anxiety, increased fear, slower extinction learning, and lower body weight, length, and brain size. Furthermore, several outcomes differed by sex, perhaps mirroring the sex bias in ASD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology