Molecular cloning of a brain-specific, developmentally regulated neuregulin 1 (NRG1) isoform and identification of a functional promoter variant associated with schizophrenia

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 09/2007; 282(33):24343-51. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M702953200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is essential for the development and function of multiple organ systems, and its dysregulation has been linked to diseases such as cancer and schizophrenia. Recently, altered expression of a novel isoform (type IV) in the brain has been associated with schizophrenia-related genetic variants, especially rs6994992 (SNP8NRG243177). Here we have isolated and characterized full-length NRG1 type IV cDNAs from the adult and fetal human brain and identified novel splice variants of NRG1. Full-length type IV spans 1.8 kb and encodes a putative protein of 590 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of approximately 66 kDa. The transcript consists of 11 exons with an Ig-like domain, an epidermal growth factor-like (EGF) domain, a beta-stalk, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic "a-tail," placing it in the beta1a NRG1 subclass. NRG1 type IV was not detected in any tissues except brain and a putative type IV NRG1 protein of 66 kDa was similarly brain-specific. Type IV transcripts are more abundantly expressed in the fetal brain, where, in addition to the full-length structure, two novel type IV variants were identified. In vitro luciferase-reporter assays demonstrate that the 5' promoter region upstream of type IV is functional, with differential activity associated with genetic variation at rs6994992, and that promoter competition may impact on type IV expression. Our data suggest that type IV is a unique brain-specific NRG1 that is differentially expressed and processed during early development, is translated, and its expression regulated by a schizophrenia risk-associated functional promoter or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: CREB1 is a cAMP responsive transcriptional factor which plays a key role in neural development. CREB1 signal pathway (CSP) has been implicated repeatedly in studies of predisposition for schizophrenia. We speculated that CSP has undergone positive selection during evolution of modern human and some genes that have undergone natural selection in the past may predispose to schizophrenia (SCZ) in modern time. Positive selection and association analysis were employed to explore the molecular evolution of CSP and association with schizophrenia. Our results showed a pan-ethnic selection event on NRG1 and CREB1, as confirmed in all 14 ethnic populations studied, which also suggested a selection process occurred before the “Out of Africa” scenario. Analysis of 62 SNPs covering 6 CSP genes in 2,019 Han Chinese (976 SCZ patients and 1,043 healthy individuals) showed an association of two SNPs (rs4379857, P=0.009, OR [95% CI]: 1.200 [1.379-1.046]; rs2238751, P=0.023, OR [95% CI]: 1.253 [1.522-1.032]) with SCZ. However, none of these significances survived after multiple testing corrections. Nonetheless, we observed an association of a rare CREB1 haplotype CCGGC (Bonferroni corrected P = 8.70×10-5) with SCZ. Our study showed that there was substantial population heterogeneity in genetic predisposition to SCZ, and different genes in the CSP pathway may predispose to SCZ in different populations.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 10/2014; 57. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.06.008 · 4.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Neuregulins are a family of signalling proteins that orchestrate a broad range of cellular responses. Four genes encoding Neuregulins 1–4 have been identified so far in vertebrates. Among them, Neuregulin 1 and Neuregulin 3 have been reported to contribute to an increased risk for developing schizophrenia. We hypothesized that three specific variants of these genes (rs6994992 and rs3924999 for Neuregulin 1 and rs10748842 for Neuregulin 3) that have been related to this illness may modify information processing capacity in the cortex, which would be reflected in electrophysiological parameters (P3b amplitude or gamma noise power) and/or cognitive performance. Methods We obtained DNA from 31 patients with schizophrenia and 23 healthy controls and analyzed NRG1 rs6994992, NRG1 rs3924999 and NRG3 rs10748842 promoter polymorphisms by allelic discrimination with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We compared cognitive outcome, P300 amplitude parameters and an electroencephalographic measure of noise power in the gamma band between the groups dichotomized according to genotype. Results Contrary to our hypothesis, we could not detect any significant influence of variation in Neuregulin 1/Neuregulin 3 polymorphisms on cognitive performance or electrophysiological parameters of patients with schizophrenia. Conclusions Despite our findings, we cannot discard that other genetic variants and, more likely, interactions between those variants and with genetic variation related to different pathways may still influence cerebral processing in schizophrenia.
    Annals of General Psychiatry 06/2014; 13(18). DOI:10.1186/1744-859X-13-18 · 1.53 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a multifunctional neurotrophin that mediates neurodevelopment and schizophrenia risk. The NRG1 gene undergoes extensive alternative splicing, and association of brain NRG1 type IV isoform expression with the schizophrenia-risk polymorphism rs6994992 is a potential mechanism of risk. Novel splice variants of NRG1-IV (NRG1-IVNV), with predicted unique signaling capabilities, have been cloned in fetal brain tissue. The authors investigated the temporal dynamics of transcription of NRG1-IVNV, compared with the major NRG1 isoforms, across human prenatal and postnatal prefrontal cortical development, and they examined the association of rs6994992 with NRG1-IVNV expression. METHOD NRG1 type I-IV and NRG1-IVNV isoforms were evaluated with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in human postmortem prefrontal cortex tissue samples at 14 to 39 weeks gestation and postnatal ages 0-83 years. The association of rs6994992 genotype with NRG1-IVNV expression and the subcellular distribution and proteolytic processing of NRG1-IVNV isoforms were also determined. RESULTS Expression of NRG1 types I, II, and III was temporally regulated during prenatal and postnatal neocortical development. NRG1-IVNV was expressed from 16 weeks gestation until age 3. Homozygosity for the schizophrenia risk allele (T) of rs6994992 conferred lower cortical NRG1-IVNV levels. Assays showed that NRG1-IVNV is a novel nuclear-enriched, truncated NRG1 protein resistant to proteolytic processing. CONCLUSIONS To the authors' knowledge, this study provides the first quantitative map of NRG1 isoform expression during human neocortical development and aging. It identifies a potential mechanism of early developmental risk for schizophrenia at the NRG1 locus, involving a novel class of NRG1 proteins.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 06/2014; 171(9). DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13111518 · 13.56 Impact Factor