ABSTRACT: The alphaN-catenin (CTNNA2) gene represents a promising candidate gene for schizophrenia based upon previous genetic linkage, expression, and mouse knockout studies. CTNNA2 is differentially regulated by smoking in schizophrenic patients. In this report, the genomic structure of a primate-specific alphaN-catenin splice variant (alphaN-catenin III) is described. A comparison of alphaN-catenin III mRNA expression across postmortem hippocampi from schizophrenic and non-mentally ill smokers and non-smokers revealed a significant decrease in expression among patient non-smokers compared to all other groups. The recent evolutionary divergence of this gene, as well as the differences in gene expression in postmortem brain of schizophrenic non-smokers, supports the role of alphaN-catenin III as a novel disease susceptibility gene.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 01/2008; 147B(6):759-68. · 3.70 Impact Factor