DISC1-binding proteins in neural development, signalling and schizophrenia

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In the decade since Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) was first identified it has become one of the most convincing risk genes for major mental illness. As a multi-functional scaffold protein, DISC1 has multiple identified protein interaction partners that highlight pathologically relevant molecular pathways with potential for pharmaceutical intervention. Amongst these are proteins involved in neuronal migration (e.g. APP, Dixdc1, LIS1, NDE1, NDEL1), neural progenitor proliferation (GSK3β), neurosignalling (Girdin, GSK3β, PDE4) and synaptic function (Kal7, TNIK). Furthermore, emerging evidence of genetic association (NDEL1, PCM1, PDE4B) and copy number variation (NDE1) implicate several DISC1-binding partners as risk factors for schizophrenia in their own right. Thus, a picture begins to emerge of DISC1 as a key hub for multiple critical developmental pathways within the brain, disruption of which can lead to a variety of psychiatric illness phenotypes.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled ‘Schizophrenia’.Highlights▸ We review genetic data associating DISC1 with psychiatric illness. ▸ DISC1 binding partners include proteins involved in neuronal migration. ▸ Others are involved in neuronal signalling or synaptic function. ▸ These binding partners suggest putative disease-related molecular pathways. ▸ Several are now also implicated in psychiatric illness in their own right.

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