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Molecules, signaling, and schizophrenia.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Schizophrenia is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, but despite some progress in identifying the genetic factors implicated in its development, the molecular mechanisms underlying its etiology and pathogenesis remain poorly understood. However, accumulating evidence suggests that regardless of the underlying genetic complexity, the mechanisms of the disease may impact a small number of common signaling pathways. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a role of schizophrenia susceptibility genes in intracellular signaling cascades by focusing on three prominent candidate genes: AKT, PPP3CC (calcineurin), and DISC1. We describe the regulation of a number of signaling cascades by AKT and calcineurin through protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, and the recently uncovered functions of DISC1 in cAMP and GSK3beta signaling. In addition, we present independent evidence for the involvement of their downstream signaling pathways in schizophrenia. Finally, we discuss evidence supporting an impact of these susceptibility genes on common intracellular signaling pathways and the convergence of their effects on neuronal processes implicated in schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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