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CHD8 gene

chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 8

Normal Function

The CHD8 gene provides instructions for making a protein that regulates gene activity (expression) by a process known as chromatin remodeling. Chromatin is the complex of DNA and protein that packages DNA into chromosomes. The structure of chromatin can be changed (remodeled) to alter how tightly DNA is packaged. When DNA is tightly packed, gene expression is lower than when DNA is loosely packed. Chromatin remodeling is one way gene expression is regulated during development.

The CHD8 protein is thought to affect the expression of many other genes that are involved in brain development before birth. In particular, the CHD8 protein and the genes it regulates likely help control the development of neural progenitor cells, which give rise to nerve cells (neurons), and the growth and division (proliferation) and maturation (differentiation) of neurons. In this way, the CHD8 protein helps to control the number of neurons in the brain and prevent overgrowth.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Autism spectrum disorder

More than 30 CHD8 gene mutations have been identified in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a varied condition characterized by impaired social skills, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors. Mutations in the CHD8 gene impair the function of the CHD8 protein, and may interfere with its ability to help control the number and growth of neurons in the brain. Excess neurons and overgrowth in parts of the brain are associated with ASD, but the relationship between these abnormalities and the behavioral features of the disorder is unknown.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • ATP-dependent helicase CHD8
  • AUTS18
  • axis duplication inhibitor
  • chromodomain-helicase-DNA-binding protein 8 isoform 1
  • chromodomain-helicase-DNA-binding protein 8 isoform 2
  • duplin
  • helicase with SNF2 domain 1
  • KIAA1564

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Barnard RA, Pomaville MB, O'Roak BJ. Mutations and Modeling of the Chromatin Remodeler CHD8 Define an Emerging Autism Etiology. Front Neurosci. 2015 Dec 17;9:477. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00477. eCollection 2015. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Bernier R, Golzio C, Xiong B, Stessman HA, Coe BP, Penn O, Witherspoon K, Gerdts J, Baker C, Vulto-van Silfhout AT, Schuurs-Hoeijmakers JH, Fichera M, Bosco P, Buono S, Alberti A, Failla P, Peeters H, Steyaert J, Vissers LELM, Francescatto L, Mefford HC, Rosenfeld JA, Bakken T, O'Roak BJ, Pawlus M, Moon R, Shendure J, Amaral DG, Lein E, Rankin J, Romano C, de Vries BBA, Katsanis N, Eichler EE. Disruptive CHD8 mutations define a subtype of autism early in development. Cell. 2014 Jul 17;158(2):263-276. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.06.017. Epub 2014 Jul 3. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Cotney J, Muhle RA, Sanders SJ, Liu L, Willsey AJ, Niu W, Liu W, Klei L, Lei J, Yin J, Reilly SK, Tebbenkamp AT, Bichsel C, Pletikos M, Sestan N, Roeder K, State MW, Devlin B, Noonan JP. The autism-associated chromatin modifier CHD8 regulates other autism risk genes during human neurodevelopment. Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 10;6:6404. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7404. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Krumm N, O'Roak BJ, Shendure J, Eichler EE. A de novo convergence of autism genetics and molecular neuroscience. Trends Neurosci. 2014 Feb;37(2):95-105. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Dec 30. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • O'Roak BJ, Vives L, Fu W, Egertson JD, Stanaway IB, Phelps IG, Carvill G, Kumar A, Lee C, Ankenman K, Munson J, Hiatt JB, Turner EH, Levy R, O'Day DR, Krumm N, Coe BP, Martin BK, Borenstein E, Nickerson DA, Mefford HC, Doherty D, Akey JM, Bernier R, Eichler EE, Shendure J. Multiplex targeted sequencing identifies recurrently mutated genes in autism spectrum disorders. Science. 2012 Dec 21;338(6114):1619-22. doi: 10.1126/science.1227764. Epub 2012 Nov 15. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Pramparo T, Lombardo MV, Campbell K, Barnes CC, Marinero S, Solso S, Young J, Mayo M, Dale A, Ahrens-Barbeau C, Murray SS, Lopez L, Lewis N, Pierce K, Courchesne E. Cell cycle networks link gene expression dysregulation, mutation, and brain maldevelopment in autistic toddlers. Mol Syst Biol. 2015 Dec 14;11(12):841. doi: 10.15252/msb.20156108. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Sanders SJ. First glimpses of the neurobiology of autism spectrum disorder. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2015 Aug;33:80-92. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 9. Citation on PubMed
  • Stolerman ES, Smith B, Chaubey A, Jones JR. CHD8 intragenic deletion associated with autism spectrum disorder. Eur J Med Genet. 2016 Apr;59(4):189-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 26. Citation on PubMed
  • Sugathan A, Biagioli M, Golzio C, Erdin S, Blumenthal I, Manavalan P, Ragavendran A, Brand H, Lucente D, Miles J, Sheridan SD, Stortchevoi A, Kellis M, Haggarty SJ, Katsanis N, Gusella JF, Talkowski ME. CHD8 regulates neurodevelopmental pathways associated with autism spectrum disorder in neural progenitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 21;111(42):E4468-77. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1405266111. Epub 2014 Oct 7. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Wilkinson B, Grepo N, Thompson BL, Kim J, Wang K, Evgrafov OV, Lu W, Knowles JA, Campbell DB. The autism-associated gene chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8 (CHD8) regulates noncoding RNAs and autism-related genes. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 May 19;5(5):e568. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.62. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.