Mutations in ACTL6B Cause Neurodevelopmental Deficits and Epilepsy and Lead to Loss of Dendrites in Human Neurons

Scott Bell, Justine Rousseau, Huashan Peng, Zahia Aouabed, Pierre Priam, Jean-Francois Theroux, Malvin Jefri, Arnaud Tanti, Hanrong Wu, Ilaria Kolobova, Heika Silviera, Karla Manzano-Vargas, Sophie Ehresmann, Fadi F. Hamdan, Nuwan Hettige, Xin Zhang, Lilit Antonyan, Christina Nassif, Lina Ghaloul-Gonzalez, Jessica SebastianJerry Vockley, Amber G. Begtrup, Ingrid M. Wentzensen, Amy Crunk, Robert D. Nicholls, Kristin C. Herman, Joshua L. Deignan, Walla Al-Hertani, Stephanie Efthymiou, Vincenzo Salpietro, Noriko Miyake, Yoshio Makita, Naomichi Matsumoto, Rune Ostern, Gunnar Houge, Maria Hafstrom, Emily Fassi, Henry Houlden, Jolien S. Klein Wassink-Ruiter, Dominic Nelson, Amy Goldstein, Tabib Dabir, Julien van Gils, Thomas Bourgeron, Richard Delorme, Gregory M. Cooper, Jose E. Martinez, Candice R. Finnila, Lionel Carmant, Anne Lortie, Renske Oegema, Koen van Gassen, Sarju G. Mehta, Dagmar Huhle, Rami Abou Jamra, Sonja Martin, Han G. Brunner, Dick Lindhout, Margaret Au, John M. Graham, Christine Coubes, Gustavo Turecki, Simon Gravel, Naguib Mechawar, Elsa Rossignol, Jacques L. Michaud, Julie Lessard, Carl Ernst*, Philippe M. Campeau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We identified individuals with variations in ACTL6B, a component of the chromatin remodeling machinery including the BAF complex. Ten individuals harbored bi-allelic mutations and presented with global developmental delay, epileptic encephalopathy, and spasticity, and ten individuals with de novo heterozygous mutations displayed intellectual disability, ambulation deficits, severe language impairment, hypotonia, Rett-like stereotypies, and minor facial dysmorphisms ( wide mouth, diastema, bulbous nose). Nine of these ten unrelated individuals had the identical de novo c.1027G>A (p.Gly343Arg) mutation. Human-derived neurons were generated that recaptured ACTL6B expression patterns in development from progenitor cell to post-mitotic neuron, validating the use of this model. Engineered knock-out of ACTL6B in wild-type human neurons resulted in profound deficits in dendrite development, a result recapitulated in two individuals with different bi-allelic mutations, and reversed on clonal genetic repair or exogenous expression of ACTL6B. Whole-transcriptome analyses and whole-genomic profiling of the BAF complex in wild-type and bi-allelic mutant ACTL6B neural progenitor cells and neurons revealed increased genomic binding of the BAF complex in ACTL6B mutants, with corresponding transcriptional changes in several genes including TPPP and FSCN1, suggesting that altered regulation of some cytoskeletal genes contribute to altered dendrite development. Assessment of bi-alleic and heterozygous ACTL6B mutations on an ACTL6B knock-out human background demonstrated that bi-allelic mutations mimic engineered deletion deficits while heterozygous mutations do not, suggesting that the former are loss of function and the latter are gain of function. These results reveal a role for ACTL6B in neurodevelopment and implicate another component of chromatin remodeling machinery in brain disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-834
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019


  • GENE

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