Send to

Choose Destination
EMBO Mol Med. 2011 Jun;3(6):309-19. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201100135. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

A CAG repeat polymorphism of KCNN3 predicts SK3 channel function and cognitive performance in schizophrenia.

Author information

Divison of Clinical Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.


KCNN3, encoding the small conductance calcium-activated potassium channel SK3, harbours a polymorphic CAG repeat in the amino-terminal coding region with yet unproven function. Hypothesizing that KCNN3 genotypes do not influence susceptibility to schizophrenia but modify its phenotype, we explored their contribution to specific schizophrenic symptoms. Using the Göttingen Research Association for Schizophrenia (GRAS) data collection of schizophrenic patients (n = 1074), we performed a phenotype-based genetic association study (PGAS) of KCNN3. We show that long CAG repeats in the schizophrenic sample are specifically associated with better performance in higher cognitive tasks, comprising the capacity to discriminate, select and execute (p < 0.0001). Long repeats reduce SK3 channel function, as we demonstrate by patch-clamping of transfected HEK293 cells. In contrast, modelling the opposite in mice, i.e. KCNN3 overexpression/channel hyperfunction, leads to selective deficits in higher brain functions comparable to those influenced by SK3 conductance in humans. To conclude, KCNN3 genotypes modify cognitive performance, shown here in a large sample of schizophrenic patients. Reduction of SK3 function may constitute a pharmacological target to improve cognition in schizophrenia and other conditions with cognitive impairment.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center