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Hum Mol Genet. 2000 May 22;9(9):1415-23.

Disruption of two novel genes by a translocation co-segregating with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Medical Genetics Section, Department of Medical Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Molecular Medicine Centre and MRC Human Genetics Unit, both at Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.


A balanced (1;11)(q42.1;q14.3) translocation segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family (maximum LOD = 6.0). We hypothesize that the translocation is the causative event and that it directly disrupts gene function. We previously reported a dearth of genes in the breakpoint region of chromosome 11 and it is therefore unlikely that the expression of any genes on this chromosome has been affected by the translocation. By contrast, the corresponding region on chromosome 1 is gene dense and, not one, but two novel genes are directly disrupted by the translocation. These genes have been provisionally named Disrupted-In-Schizophrenia 1 and 2 ( DISC1 and DISC2 ). DISC1 encodes a large protein with no significant sequence homology to other known proteins. It is predicted to consist of a globular N-terminal domain(s) and helical C-terminal domain which has the potential to form a coiled-coil by interaction with another, as yet, unidentified protein(s). Similar structures are thought to be present in a variety of unrelated proteins that are known to function in the nervous system. The putative structure of the protein encoded by DISC1 is therefore compatible with a role in the nervous system. DISC2 apparently specifies a non-coding RNA molecule that is antisense to DISC1, an arrangement that has been observed at other loci where it is thought that the antisense RNA is involved in regulating expression of the sense gene. Altogether, these observations indicate that DISC1 and DISC2 should be considered formal candidate genes for susceptibility to psychiatric illness.

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