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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jul 15;64(2):104-10. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.12.017. Epub 2008 Mar 21.

Promoter variant in the GRK3 gene associated with bipolar disorder alters gene expression.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093, USA.



We have previously reported a single nucleotide polymorphism (P-5, G-384A) in the proximal promoter of the gene for G protein receptor kinase 3 (GRK3) that was associated with bipolar disorder in two independent samples. In this study, we examined whether the G-384A variant has a functional effect on GRK3 transcription.


Electrophoretic mobility shift assays were conducted using nuclear extracts from both Hela cells and adult mouse cortex. Transcriptional function was also examined using a dual luciferase reporter system transfected into in vitro human neuroblastoma cells and cultured mouse cortical neurons.


The G-384A variant abolished or reduced the formation of DNA-protein complexes using nuclear extract from both HeLa cells and adult mouse cortical neuron cells. However, gene expression was significantly enhanced by G-384A in both in vitro human neuroblastoma cells and cultured mouse cortical neurons.


These data suggest that the G-384A SNP in the promoter of human GRK3 gene represents an important functional variant. The G-384A variant may alter binding of Sp1/Sp4 transcription factors resulting in an increase in gene transcription and an increase in vulnerability to bipolar disorder.

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