Mutations in the Chromatin Regulator Gene BRPF1 Cause Syndromic Intellectual Disability and Deficient Histone Acetylation

Am J Hum Genet. 2017 Jan 5;100(1):91-104. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.11.011. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Identification of over 500 epigenetic regulators in humans raises an interesting question regarding how chromatin dysregulation contributes to different diseases. Bromodomain and PHD finger-containing protein 1 (BRPF1) is a multivalent chromatin regulator possessing three histone-binding domains, one non-specific DNA-binding module, and several motifs for interacting with and activating three lysine acetyltransferases. Genetic analyses of fish brpf1 and mouse Brpf1 have uncovered an important role in skeletal, hematopoietic, and brain development, but it remains unclear how BRPF1 is linked to human development and disease. Here, we describe an intellectual disability disorder in ten individuals with inherited or de novo monoallelic BRPF1 mutations. Symptoms include infantile hypotonia, global developmental delay, intellectual disability, expressive language impairment, and facial dysmorphisms. Central nervous system and spinal abnormalities are also seen in some individuals. These clinical features overlap with but are not identical to those reported for persons with KAT6A or KAT6B mutations, suggesting that BRPF1 targets these two acetyltransferases and additional partners in humans. Functional assays showed that the resulting BRPF1 variants are pathogenic and impair acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 23, an abundant but poorly characterized epigenetic mark. We also found a similar deficiency in different lines of Brpf1-knockout mice. These data indicate that aberrations in the chromatin regulator gene BRPF1 cause histone H3 acetylation deficiency and a previously unrecognized intellectual disability syndrome.

Keywords: BRPF2; PHD finger; PWWP domain; PZP domain; bromodomain; developmental disorder; epigenetic regulator; histone acetylation; intellectual disability.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Adolescent
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Child
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Developmental Disabilities / genetics
  • Face / abnormalities
  • Female
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Hypotonia / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Syndrome


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • BRPF1 protein, human
  • BRPF1 protein, mouse
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • KAT6A protein, human
  • KAT6B protein, human
  • Lysine