Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Although KDM5C is one of the most frequently mutated genes in X-linked intellectual disability1, the exact mechanisms that lead to cognitive impairment remain unknown. Here we use human patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and Kdm5c knockout mice to conduct cellular, transcriptomic, chromatin and behavioural studies. KDM5C is identified as a safeguard to ensure that neurodevelopment occurs at an appropriate timescale, the disruption of which leads to intellectual disability. Specifically, there is a developmental window during which KDM5C directly controls WNT output to regulate the timely transition of primary to intermediate progenitor cells and consequently neurogenesis. Treatment with WNT signalling modulators at specific times reveal that only a transient alteration of the canonical WNT signalling pathway is sufficient to rescue the transcriptomic and chromatin landscapes in patient-derived cells and to induce these changes in wild-type cells. Notably, WNT inhibition during this developmental period also rescues behavioural changes of Kdm5c knockout mice. Conversely, a single injection of WNT3A into the brains of wild-type embryonic mice cause anxiety and memory alterations. Our work identifies KDM5C as a crucial sentinel for neurodevelopment and sheds new light on KDM5C mutation-associated intellectual disability. The results also increase our general understanding of memory and anxiety formation, with the identification of WNT functioning in a transient nature to affect long-lasting cognitive function.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





594 - 603


Division of Newborn Medicine and Epigenetics Program, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Chromatin, Animals, Mice, Knockout, Humans, Mice, Cognition, Mutation, Histone Demethylases, Intellectual Disability