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Alcohol. 2018 Nov;72:19-31. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2017.11.036. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Cross-species molecular dissection across alcohol behavioral domains.

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University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States.
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, United States.
Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, United States.
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States.
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States. Electronic address:


This review summarizes the proceedings of a symposium presented at the "Alcoholism and Stress: A Framework for Future Treatment Strategies" conference held in Volterra, Italy on May 9-12, 2017. Psychiatric diseases, including alcohol-use disorders (AUDs), are influenced through complex interactions of genes, neurobiological pathways, and environmental influences. A better understanding of the common neurobiological mechanisms underlying an AUD necessitates an integrative approach, involving a systematic assessment of diverse species and phenotype measures. As part of the World Congress on Stress and Alcoholism, this symposium provided a detailed account of current strategies to identify mechanisms underlying the development and progression of AUDs. Dr. Sean Farris discussed the integration and organization of transcriptome and postmortem human brain data to identify brain regional- and cell type-specific differences related to excessive alcohol consumption that are conserved across species. Dr. Brien Riley presented the results of a genome-wide association study of DSM-IV alcohol dependence; although replication of genetic associations with alcohol phenotypes in humans remains challenging, model organism studies show that COL6A3, KLF12, and RYR3 affect behavioral responses to ethanol, and provide substantial evidence for their role in human alcohol-related traits. Dr. Rob Williams expanded upon the systematic characterization of extensive genetic-genomic resources for quantifying and clarifying phenotypes across species that are relevant to precision medicine in human disease. The symposium concluded with Dr. Robert Hitzemann's description of transcriptome studies in a mouse model selectively bred for high alcohol ("binge-like") consumption and a non-human primate model of long-term alcohol consumption. Together, the different components of this session provided an overview of systems-based approaches that are pioneering the experimental prioritization and validation of novel genes and gene networks linked with a range of behavioral phenotypes associated with stress and AUDs.


Alcohol-use disorder; Co-expression networks; Genome-wide association study; RNA-Seq; Recombinant inbred mice; Species conservation; Systems biology; Transcriptome

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