De novo mutations in schizophrenia implicate synaptic networks.

Nature 2014 Feb 22;506(7487):179-84. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK.

Inherited alleles account for most of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. However, new (de novo) mutations, in the form of large chromosomal copy number changes, occur in a small fraction of cases and disproportionally disrupt genes encoding postsynaptic proteins. Here we show that small de novo mutations, affecting one or a few nucleotides, are overrepresented among glutamatergic postsynaptic proteins comprising activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (ARC) and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) complexes. Mutations are additionally enriched in proteins that interact with these complexes to modulate synaptic strength, namely proteins regulating actin filament dynamics and those whose messenger RNAs are targets of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). Genes affected by mutations in schizophrenia overlap those mutated in autism and intellectual disability, as do mutation-enriched synaptic pathways. Aligning our findings with a parallel case-control study, we demonstrate reproducible insights into aetiological mechanisms for schizophrenia and reveal pathophysiology shared with other neurodevelopmental disorders.

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http://www.nature.com/articles/nature12929
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4237002PMC
February 2014
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