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Transl Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 16;1:e30. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.31.

Interactions of human truncated DISC1 proteins: implications for schizophrenia.

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  • 1Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, National Institutes of Mental Health, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1385, USA.


Numerous genetic linkage and association reports have implicated the Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia (DISC1) gene in psychiatric illness. The Scottish family translocation, predicted to encode a C-terminus-truncated protein, suggests involvement of short isoforms in the pathophysiology of mental disorders. We recently reported complex alternative splicing patterns for the DISC1 gene and found that short isoforms are overexpressed in the brains of patients with schizophrenia and in carriers of risk-associated alleles. Investigation into the protein-protein interactions of alternative DISC1 isoforms may provide information about the functional consequences of overexpression of truncated forms in mental illness. Human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells were transiently co-transfected with human epitope-tagged DISC1 variants and epitope-tagged NDEL1, FEZ1, GSK3β and PDE4B constructs. Co-immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that all truncated DISC1 variants formed complexes with full-length DISC1. Short DISC1 splice variants LΔ78, LΔ3 and Esv1 showed reduced or no binding to NDEL1 and PDE4B proteins, but fully interacted with FEZ1 and GSK3β. The temporal expression pattern of GSK3β in the human postmortem tissue across the lifespan closely resembled that of the truncated DISC1 variants, suggesting the possibility of interactions between these proteins in the human brain. Our results suggest that complexes of full-length DISC1 with truncated DISC1 variants may result in cellular disturbances critical to DISC1 function.

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