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The emerging roles for the chromatin structure regulators CTCF and cohesin in neurodevelopment and behavior

Davis, Liron, Onn, Itay, Elliott, Evan
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2018 v.75 no.7 pp. 1205-1214
chromatin, humans, neurodevelopment, phenotype
Recent genetic and technological advances have determined a role for chromatin structure in neurodevelopment. In particular, compounding evidence has established roles for CTCF and cohesin, two elements that are central in the establishment of chromatin structure, in proper neurodevelopment and in regulation of behavior. Genetic aberrations in CTCF, and in subunits of the cohesin complex, have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in human genetic studies, and subsequent animal studies have established definitive, although sometime opposing roles, for these factors in neurodevelopment and behavior. Considering the centrality of these factors in cellular processes in general, the mechanisms through which dysregulation of CTCF and cohesin leads specifically to neurological phenotypes is intriguing, although poorly understood. The connection between CTCF, cohesin, chromatin structure, and behavior is likely to be one of the next frontiers in our understanding of the development of behavior in general, and neurodevelopmental disorders in particular.