Neurodevelopmental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are disorders of mostly unknown etiopathogenesis, for which both genetic and environmental influences are expected to contribute to the phenotype observed in patients. Changes at all levels of brain function, from network connectivity between brain areas, over neuronal survival, synaptic connectivity and axonal growth, down to molecular changes and epigenetic modifications are suspected to play a key roles in these diseases, resulting in life-long behavioural changes. Genome-wide association as well as copy-number variation studies have linked cadherin-13 (CDH13) as a novel genetic risk factor to neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. CDH13 is highly expressed during embryonic brain development, as well as in the adult brain, where it is present in regions including the hippocampus, striatum and thalamus (among others) and is upregulated in response to chronic stress exposure. It is however unclear how CDH13 interacts with environmentally relevant cues, including stressful triggers, in the formation of long-lasting behavioural and molecular changes. It is currently unknown how the environment influences CDH13 and which long term changes in behaviour and gene expression are caused by their interaction. This work therefore investigates the interaction between CDH13 deficiency and neonatal maternal separation (MS) in mice with the aim to elucidate the function of CDH13 and its role in the response to early-life stress (ELS). For this purpose, mixed litters of wild-type (Cdh13+/+), heterozygous (Cdh13+/-) and homozygous knockout (Cdh13-/-) mice were maternally separated from postnatal day 1 (PN1) to postnatal day 14 (PN14) for 3 hours each day (180MS; PN1-PN14). In a first series of experiments, these mice were subjected to a battery of behavioural tests starting at 8 weeks of age in order to assess motor activity, memory functions as well as measures of anxiety. Subsequently, expression of RNA in various brain regions was measured using quantitativ real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). A second cohort of mice was exposed to the same MS procedure, but was not behaviourally tested, to assess molecular changes in hippocampus using RNA sequencing. Behavioural analysis revealed that MS had an overall anxiolytic-like effect, with mice after MS spending more time in the open arms of the elevated-plus-maze (EPM) and the light compartment in the light-dark box (LDB). As a notable exception, Cdh13-/- mice did not show an increase of time spent in the light compartment after MS compared to Cdh13+/+ and Cdh13+/- MS mice. During the Barnes-maze learning task, mice of most groups showed a similar ability in learning the location of the escape hole, both in terms of primary latency and primary errors. Cdh13-/- control (CTRL) mice however committed more primary errors than Cdh13-/- MS mice. In the contextual fear conditioning (cFC) test, Cdh13-/- mice showed more freezing responses during the extinction recall, indicating a reduced extinction of fear memory. In the step-down test, an impulsivity task, Cdh13-/- mice had a tendency to wait longer before stepping down from the platform, indicative of more hesitant behaviour. In the same animals, qRT-PCR of several brain areas revealed changes in the GABAergic and glutamatergic systems, while also highlighting changes in the gatekeeper enzyme Glykogensynthase-Kinase 3 (Gsk3a), both in relation to Cdh13 deficiency and MS. Results from the RNA sequencing study and subsequent gene-set enrichment analysis revealed changes in adhesion and developmental genes due to Cdh13 deficiency, while also highlighting a strong link between CDH13 and endoplasmatic reticulum function. In addition, some results suggest that MS increased pro-survival pathways, while a gene x environment analysis showed alterations in apoptotic pathways and migration, as well as immune factors and membrane metabolism. An analysis of the overlap between gene and environment, as well as their interaction, highlighted an effect on cell adhesion factors, underscoring their importance for adaptation to the environment. Overall, the stress model resulted in increased stress resilience in Cdh13+/+ and Cdh13+/- mice, a change absent in Cdh13-/- mice, suggesting a role of CDH13 during programming and adaptation to early-life experiences, that can results in long-lasting consequences on brain functions and associated behaviours. These changes were also visible in the RNA sequencing, where key pathways for cell-cell adhesion, neuronal survival and cell-stress adaptation were altered. In conclusion, these findings further highlight the role of CDH13 during brain development, while also shedding light on its function in the adaptation and response during (early life) environmental challenges.