Functional validation of CHMP7 as an ADHD risk gene

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood with a strong genetic component. Despite the success of mapping ADHD risk loci, little work has been done to experimentally verify the contribution of these loci to ADHD phenotypes. Meta-analysis of four genome-wide association studies in ADHD suggested CHMP7 as a predisposing gene for ADHD. A DNA variant (rs2294123) mapped to CHMP7 has been shown (via bioinformatic analysis) to have a high likelihood for functionality and correlate with reduced transcript levels. We used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to generate a chmp7 zebrafish model for ADHD. chmp7+/− fish showed comparable reductions in mRNA levels to individuals homozygous for the CHMP7 ADHD risk allele. These fish displayed significant hyperactivity over a 24-h period at 6 days post-fertilisation compared to chmp7+/+, but this effect did not persist into juvenile and adulthood stages. In addition, chmp7+/− fish had significantly smaller total brain volumes than chmp7+/+ fish. Finally, the hyperactivity at 6 days post-fertilisation was significantly reduced through the application of methylphenidate, a mainstay pharmacological treatment for ADHD. Overall, this study highlights an important role for CHMP7 in the neurodevelopment of ADHD, and demonstrates the utility of zebrafish for modelling the functional effects of genes conferring risk to ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number385
Number of pages8
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2020


  • ADHD
  • medical genetics

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