Weaver syndrome is a Mendelian disorder of the epigenetic machinery (MDEM) caused by germline pathogenic variants in EZH2, which encodes the predominant H3K27 methyltransferase and key enzymatic component of Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2). Weaver syndrome is characterized by striking overgrowth and advanced bone age, intellectual disability, and distinctive facies. We generated a mouse model for the most common Weaver syndrome missense variant, EZH2 p.R684C. Ezh2R684C/R684C mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) showed global depletion of H3K27me3. Ezh2R684C/+ mice had abnormal bone parameters, indicative of skeletal overgrowth, and Ezh2R684C/+ osteoblasts showed increased osteogenic activity. RNA-Seq comparing osteoblasts differentiated from Ezh2R684C/+, and Ezh2+/+ BM-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) indicated collective dysregulation of the BMP pathway and osteoblast differentiation. Inhibition of the opposing H3K27 demethylases KDM6A and KDM6B substantially reversed the excessive osteogenesis in Ezh2R684C/+ cells both at the transcriptional and phenotypic levels. This supports both the ideas that writers and erasers of histone marks exist in a fine balance to maintain epigenome state and that epigenetic modulating agents have therapeutic potential for the treatment of MDEMs.
Christine W. Gao, WanYing Lin, Ryan C. Riddle, Priyanka Kushwaha, Leandros Boukas, Hans T. Björnsson, Kasper D. Hansen, Jill A. Fahrner