Disrupted epigenetics in the Sotos syndrome neurobehavioral phenotype

Jacqueline R. Harris, Jill A. Fahrner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of reviewSotos syndrome is among a growing list of disorders resulting from mutations in epigenetic machinery genes. These Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery (MDEMs) exhibit phenotypic overlap broadly characterized by intellectual disability and atypical growth and behaviors. Manifestations of Sotos syndrome include a distinct facial appearance, overgrowth, intellectual disability, and behavioral issues. Herein we review key aspects of Sotos syndrome, focusing on the neurobehavioral phenotype. Additionally, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of molecular pathogenesis implicating epigenetic mechanisms.Recent findingsIncreasing evidence suggests MDEMs account for ∼19% of intellectual disability and ∼45% of overgrowth combined with intellectual disability, with Sotos syndrome constituting most of the latter. Although the genetic cause of Sotos syndrome, disruption of the histone methyltransferase writer NSD1, is well established, recent studies have further delineated the neurobehavioral phenotype and provided insight into disease pathogenesis. Explicitly, NSD1 target genes accounting for a subset of Sotos syndrome features and a specific DNA methylation signature have been identified.SummarySotos syndrome is, therefore, a genetic disorder with epigenetic consequences. Its characteristic neurobehavioral phenotype and those of related MDEMs illustrate the essential role epigenetic mechanisms play in neurologic development. Improvement in our understanding of molecular pathogenesis has important implications for development of diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Sotos syndrome
  • epigenetics
  • intellectual disability
  • methylation
  • neurobehavioral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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