Int Rev Psychiatry. 2022 Feb 17;34(2):154-167. doi: 10.1080/09540261.2022.2072193. Epub 2022 May 12.
Chromatin remodelling is an important process in neural development and is related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) aetiology. To further elucidate the involvement of chromatin remodelling genes in the genetic aetiology of ASD and SCZ in the Japanese population, we performed a case-control study. Targeted sequencing was conducted on coding regions of four BAF chromatin remodelling complex genes: SMARCA2, SMARCA4, SMARCC2, and ARID1B in 185 ASD, 432 SCZ patients, and 517 controls. 27 rare non-synonymous variants were identified in ASD and SCZ patients, including 25 missense, one in-frame deletion in SMRACA4, and one frame-shift variant in SMARCC2. Association analysis was conducted to investigate the burden of rare variants in BAF genes in ASD and SCZ patients. Significant enrichment of rare missense variants in BAF genes, but not synonymous variants, was found in ASD compared to controls. Rare pathogenic variants indicated by in silico tools were significantly enriched in ASD, but not statistically significant in SCZ. Pathogenic-predicted variants were located in disordered binding regions and may confer risk for ASD and SCZ by disrupting protein-protein interactions. Our study supports the involvement of rare missense variants of BAF genes in ASD and SCZ susceptibility.