1Front Behav Neurosci 2015 -1 9: 141
TitleComprehensive behavioral analysis of voltage-gated calcium channel beta-anchoring and -regulatory protein knockout mice.
AbstractCalcium (Ca(2+)) influx through voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (VGCCs) induces numerous intracellular events such as neuronal excitability, neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and gene regulation. It has been shown that genes related to Ca(2+) signaling, such as the CACNA1C, CACNB2, and CACNA1I genes that encode VGCC subunits, are associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Recently, VGCC beta-anchoring and -regulatory protein (BARP) was identified as a novel regulator of VGCC activity via the interaction of VGCC ? subunits. To examine the role of the BARP in higher brain functions, we generated BARP knockout (KO) mice and conducted a comprehensive battery of behavioral tests. BARP KO mice exhibited greatly reduced locomotor activity, as evidenced by decreased vertical activity, stereotypic counts in the open field test, and activity level in the home cage, and longer latency to complete a session in spontaneous T-maze alteration test, which reached "study-wide significance." Acoustic startle response was also reduced in the mutants. Interestingly, they showed multiple behavioral phenotypes that are seemingly opposite to those seen in the mouse models of schizophrenia and its related disorders, including increased working memory, flexibility, prepulse inhibition, and social interaction, and decreased locomotor activity, though many of these phenotypes are statistically weak and require further replications. These results demonstrate that BARP is involved in the regulation of locomotor activity and, possibly, emotionality. The possibility was also suggested that BARP KO mice may serve as a unique tool for investigating the pathogenesis/pathophysiology of schizophrenia and related disorders. Further evaluation of the molecular and physiological phenotypes of the mutant mice would provide new insights into the role of BARP in higher brain functions.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia
2Mol. Psychiatry 2015 Jul 20: 820-6
TitleTargeting the schizophrenia genome: a fast track strategy from GWAS to clinic.
AbstractThe Psychiatric Genomics Consortium-schizophrenia Workgroup (PGC-SCZ) has recently published a genomewide association study (GWAS) identifying >100 genetic loci, encompassing a total of 341 protein-coding genes, attaining genomewide significance for susceptibility to schizophrenia. Given the extremely long time (12-15 years) and expense (>$1 billion) associated with the development of novel drug targets, repurposing of drugs with known and validated targets may be the most expeditious path toward deriving clinical utility from these GWAS findings. In the present study, we examined all genes within loci implicated by the PGC-SCZ GWAS against databases of targets of both approved and registered pharmaceutical compounds. We identified 20 potential schizophrenia susceptibility genes that encode proteins that are the targets of approved drugs. Of these, we prioritized genes/targets that are of clear neuropsychiatric interest and that are also sole members of the linkage disequilibrium block surrounding a PGC-SCZ GWAS hit. In addition to DRD2, 5 genes meet these criteria: CACNA1C, CACNB2, CACNA1I, GRIN2A and HCN1. An additional 20 genes coding for proteins that are the targets of drugs in registered clinical trials, but without approved indications, were also identified. Although considerable work is still required to fully explicate the biological implications of the PGC-SCZ GWAS results, pathways related to these known, druggable targets may represent a promising starting point.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia
3Biol. Psychiatry 2015 Oct -1: -1
TitleReduced Sleep Spindles in Schizophrenia: A Treatable Endophenotype That Links Risk Genes to Impaired Cognition?
AbstractAlthough schizophrenia (SZ) is defined by waking phenomena, abnormal sleep is a common feature. In particular, there is accumulating evidence of a sleep spindle deficit. Sleep spindles, a defining thalamocortical oscillation of non-rapid eye movement stage 2 sleep, correlate with IQ and are thought to promote long-term potentiation and enhance memory consolidation. We review evidence that reduced spindle activity in SZ is an endophenotype that impairs sleep-dependent memory consolidation, contributes to symptoms, and is a novel treatment biomarker. Studies showing that spindles can be pharmacologically enhanced in SZ and that increasing spindles improves memory in healthy individuals suggest that treating spindle deficits in patients with SZ may improve cognition. Spindle activity is highly heritable, and recent large-scale genome-wide association studies have identified SZ risk genes that may contribute to spindle deficits and illuminate their mechanisms. For example, the SZ risk gene CACNA1I encodes a calcium channel that is abundantly expressed in the thalamic spindle generator and plays a critical role in spindle activity based on a mouse knockout. Future genetic studies of animals and humans can delineate the role of this and other genes in spindles. Such cross-disciplinary research, by forging empirical links in causal chains from risk genes to proteins and cellular functions to endophenotypes, cognitive impairments, symptoms, and diagnosis, has the potential to advance the mechanistic understanding, treatment, and prevention of SZ. This review highlights the importance of deficient sleep-dependent memory consolidation among the cognitive deficits of SZ and implicates reduced sleep spindles as a potentially treatable mechanism.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia