Pax6 transcription factor is a key player in several aspects of brain development and function. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which several loci and/or genes have been suggested as causative candidate factors. Based on data obtained from meta-analyses of the transcriptome and ChIP analyses, we hypothesized that the neurodevelopmental gene PAX6 regulates and/or binds to a large number of genes (including many ASD-related ones) that modulate the fate of neural stem/progenitor cells and functions of neuronal cells, subsequently affecting animal behavior. Network analyses of PAX6/ASD-related molecules revealed significant clusters of molecular interactions involving regulation of cell–cell adhesion, ion transport, and transcriptional regulation. We discuss a novel function of Pax6 as a chromatin modulator that alters the chromatin status of ASD genes, thereby inducing diverse phenotypes of ASD and related neurodevelopmental diseases.
- Transcriptional regulation