OXTR modulates a variety of behaviors in mammals, including social memory and recognition. Genetic and epigenetic dysregulation of OXTR has been suggested to be implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While the involvement of DNA methylation is suggested, the mechanism underlying epigenetic regulation of OXTR is largely unknown. This has hampered the experimental design and interpretation of the results of epigenetic studies of OXTR in neuropsychiatric disorders. From the generation and characterization of a new line of Tet1 mutant mice — by deleting the largest coding exon 4 (Tet1Δe4) — we discovered for the first time to our knowledge that Oxtr has an array of mRNA isoforms and a complex transcriptional regulation. Select isoforms of Oxtr are significantly reduced in the brain of Tet1Δe4–/– mice. Accordingly, CpG islands of Oxtr are hypermethylated during early development and persist into adulthood. Consistent with the reduced express of OXTR, Tet1Δe4–/– mice display impaired maternal care, social behavior, and synaptic responses to oxytocin stimulation. Our findings elucidate a mechanism mediated by TET1 protein in regulating Oxtr expression by preventing DNA hypermethylation of Oxtr. The discovery of epigenetic dysregulation of Oxtr in TET1-deficient mouse brain supports the necessity of a reassessment of existing findings and a value of future studies of OXTR in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Aaron J. Towers, Martine W. Tremblay, Leeyup Chung, Xin-lei Li, Alexandra L. Bey, Wenhao Zhang, Xinyu Cao, Xiaoming Wang, Ping Wang, Lara J. Duffney, Stephen K. Siecinski, Sonia Xu, Yuna Kim, Xiangyin Kong, Simon Gregory, Wei Xie, Yong-hui Jiang
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.