Alternatively Spliced Genes as Biomarkers for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis: A Blood-Based Spliceome-Profiling Exploratory Study.
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: Transcriptomic biomarkers of psychiatric diseases obtained from a query of peripheral tissues that are clinically accessible (e.g., blood cells instead of post-mortem brain tissue) have substantial practical appeal to discern the molecular subtypes of common complex diseases such as major psychosis. To this end, spliceome-profiling is a new methodological approach that has considerable conceptual relevance for discovery and clinical translation of novel biomarkers for psychiatric illnesses. Advances in microarray technology now allow for improved sensitivity in measuring the transcriptome while simultaneously querying the "exome" (all exons) and "spliceome" (all alternatively spliced variants). The present study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of spliceome-profiling to discern transcriptomic biomarkers of psychosis. METHODS: We measured exome and spliceome expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 13 schizophrenia patients, nine bipolar disorder patients, and eight healthy control subjects. Each diagnostic group was compared to each other, and the combined group of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia patients was also compared to the control group. Furthermore, we compared subjects with a history of psychosis to subjects without such history. RESULTS: After applying Bonferroni corrections for the 21,866 full-length gene transcripts analyzed, we found significant interactions between diagnostic group and exon identity, consistent with group differences in rates or types of alternative splicing. Relative to the control group, 18 genes in the bipolar disorder group, eight genes in the schizophrenia group, and 15 genes in the combined bipolar disorder and schizophrenia group appeared differentially spliced. Importantly, thirty-three genes showed differential splicing patterns between the bipolar disorder and schizophrenia groups. More frequent exon inclusion and/or over-expression was observed in psychosis. Finally, these observations are reconciled with an analysis of the ontologies, the pathways and the protein domains significantly over-represented among the alternatively spliced genes, several of which support prior discoveries. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first blood-based spliceome-profiling study of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to be reported. The battery of alternatively spliced genes and exons identified in this discovery-oriented exploratory study, if replicated, may have potential utility to discern the molecular subtypes of psychosis. Spliceome-profiling, as a new methodological approach in transcriptomics, warrants further work to evaluate its utility in personalized medicine. Potentially, this approach could also permit the future development of tissue-sampling methodologies in a form that is more acceptable to patients and thereby allow monitoring of dynamic and time-dependent plasticity in disease severity and response to therapeutic interventions in clinical psychiatry.
Article: Human QKI, a potential regulator of mRNA expression of human oligodendrocyte-related genes involved in schizophrenia.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The quaking viable mouse mutation (qk(v)) is a deletion including the 5' regulatory region of the quaking gene (Qki), which causes body tremor and severe dysmyelination in mouse. The function of the human quaking gene, called quaking homolog KH domain RNA-binding (mouse) (QKI), is not well known. We have previously shown that QKI is a new candidate gene for schizophrenia. Here we show that human QKI mRNA levels can account for a high proportion (47%) of normal interindividual mRNA expression variation (and covariation) of six oligodendrocyte-related genes (PLP1, MAG, MBP, TF, SOX10, and CDKN1B) in 55 human brain autopsy samples from individuals without psychiatric diagnoses. In addition, the tightly coexpressed myelin-related genes (PLP1, MAG, and TF) have decreased mRNA levels in 55 schizophrenic patients, as compared with 55 control individuals, and most of this difference (68-96%) can be explained by variation in the relative mRNA levels of QKI-7kb, the same QKI splice variant previously shown to be down-regulated in patients with schizophrenia. Taken together, our results suggest that QKI levels may regulate oligodendrocyte differentiation and maturation in human brain, in a similar way as in mouse. Moreover, we hypothesize that previously observed decreased activity of myelin-related genes in schizophrenia might be caused by disturbed QKI splicing.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2006; 103(19):7482-7. · 9.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chromosome 5q21-33 has been implicated in harboring risk genes for schizophrenia. In this paper, we report evidence that multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms in and around interleukin 3 (IL3) are associated with the disease in the Irish Study of High-Density Schizophrenia Families (ISHDSF), the Irish Case-Control Study of Schizophrenia (ICCSS) and the Irish Trio Study of Schizophrenia (ITRIO). The associations are sex-specific and depend on the family history (FH) of schizophrenia. In all three samples, rs31400 shows female-specific and FH-dependent associations (P=0.0062, 0.0647 and 0.0284 for the ISHDSF, ICCSS and ITRIO, respectively). Several markers have similar associations in one or two of the three samples. In haplotype analyses, identical risk and protective haplotypes are identified in the ISHDSF and ITRIO samples in several multimarker combinations. For ICCSS, the same haplotypes are implicated; however, the risk haplotypes observed in the family samples become protective. Several significant markers, rs440970, rs31400 and rs2069803, are located in and around known estrogen response elements, promoter and enhancer of the IL3 gene. They may explain the sex-specific associations and be functional for the expression of IL3 gene.Molecular Psychiatry 04/2007; 12(3):273-82. · 13.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) has been found to be associated with schizophrenia in several populations. Consistently, mutant mice heterozygous for either NRG1 or its receptor, ErbB4, show a behavioral phenotype that overlaps with mouse models for schizophrenia. These observations raised the hypothesis that impaired NRG1-ErbB4 signaling may contribute to schizophrenia susceptibility. Nineteen SNPs encompassing the ErbB4 gene were selected from the HapMap database and genotyped in genomic DNA isolated from 59 Ashkenazi schizophrenia patients and 130 matched controls. Expression analysis of ErbB4 splice variants was performed on postmortem DLPFC samples obtained from Caucasian patients and controls by real-time PCR. We found a highly significant difference between patient and control groups in three SNPs from one linkage disequilibrium (LD) block both in allele (P = 0.013, 0.0045, 0.0049) and genotype frequencies (P = 0.00013, 0.000021, 0.00018), as well as a risk haplotype (P = 0.00044). Expression analysis indicated that the CYT-1 isoform is overexpressed in patients (P = 0.047) and that juxtamembrane (JM)-a displays a similar trend (P = 0.081). This study provides a direct link between ErbB4 and the disease. We propose that NRG1 and its receptor ErbB4 are components of a biological pathway, involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 04/2006; 141B(2):142-8. · 3.70 Impact Factor