1Mol. Psychiatry 2009 Apr 14: 416-28
TitleGene discovery through imaging genetics: identification of two novel genes associated with schizophrenia.
AbstractWe have discovered two genes, RSRC1 and ARHGAP18, associated with schizophrenia and in an independent study provided additional support for this association. We have both discovered and verified the association of two genes, RSRC1 and ARHGAP18, with schizophrenia. We combined a genome-wide screening strategy with neuroimaging measures as the quantitative phenotype and identified the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to these genes as consistently associated with the phenotypic variation. To control for the risk of false positives, the empirical P-value for association significance was calculated using permutation testing. The quantitative phenotype was Blood-Oxygen-Level Dependent (BOLD) Contrast activation in the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex measured during a working memory task. The differential distribution of SNPs associated with these two genes in cases and controls was then corroborated in a larger, independent sample of patients with schizophrenia (n=82) and healthy controls (n=91), thus suggesting a putative etiological function for both genes in schizophrenia. Up until now these genes have not been linked to any neuropsychiatric illness, although both genes have a function in prenatal brain development. We introduce the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging activation as a quantitative phenotype in conjunction with genome-wide association as a gene discovery tool.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia
2Neuroimage 2010 Nov 53: 839-47
TitleIdentifying gene regulatory networks in schizophrenia.
AbstractThe imaging genetics approach to studying the genetic basis of disease leverages the individual strengths of both neuroimaging and genetic studies by visualizing and quantifying the brain activation patterns in the context of genetic background. Brain imaging as an intermediate phenotype can help clarify the functional link among genes, the molecular networks in which they participate, and brain circuitry and function. Integrating genetic data from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with brain imaging as a quantitative trait (QT) phenotype can increase the statistical power to identify risk genes. A QT analysis using brain imaging (DLPFC activation during a working memory task) as a quantitative trait has identified unanticipated risk genes for schizophrenia. Several of these genes (RSRC1, ARHGAP18, ROBO1-ROBO2, GPC1, TNIK, and CTXN3-SLC12A2) have functions related to progenitor cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation, cytoskeleton reorganization, axonal connectivity, and development of forebrain structures. These genes, however, do not function in isolation but rather through gene regulatory networks. To obtain a deeper understanding how the GWAS-identified genes participate in larger gene regulatory networks, we measured correlations among transcript levels in the mouse and human postmortem tissue and performed a gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) that identified several microRNA associated with schizophrenia (448, 218, 137). The results of such computational approaches can be further validated in animal experiments in which the networks are experimentally studied and perturbed with specific compounds. Glypican 1 and FGF17 mouse models for example, can be used to study such gene regulatory networks. The model demonstrates epistatic interactions between FGF and glypican on brain development and may be a useful model of negative symptom schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia