Junxia Tang

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States

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Publications (3)12.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Post-mortem analysis has revealed reduced levels of the protein dysbindin in the brain of those suffering from the neurodevelopmental disorder schizophrenia. Consequently, mechanisms controlling the cellular levels of dysbindin and its interacting partners may participate in neurodevelopmental processes impaired in that disorder. To address this question, we studied loss-of-function mutations in the genes encoding dysbindin and its interacting BLOC-1 subunits. We focused on BLOC-1 mutants affecting synapse composition and function in addition to their established systemic pigmentation, hematological, and lung phenotypes. We tested phenotypic homogeneity and gene dosage effects in the mouse null alleles muted (Bloc1s5mu/mu) and dysbindin (Bloc1s8sdy/sdy). Transcripts of NMDA receptor subunits and GABAergic interneuron markers, as well as expression of BLOC-1 subunit gene products, were affected differently in the brains of Bloc1s5mu/mu and Bloc1s8sdy/sdy mice. Unlike Bloc1s8sdy/sdy, elimination of one or two copies of Bloc1s5 generated indistinguishable pallidin transcript phenotypes. We conclude that monogenic mutations abrogating the expression of a protein complex subunit differentially affect the expression of other complex transcripts and polypeptides as well as their downstream effectors. We propose that the genetic disruption of different subunits of protein complexes and combinations thereof diversifies phenotypic presentation of pathway deficiencies, contributing to the wide phenotypic spectrum and complexity of neurodevelopmental disorders.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DTNBP1 (dystrobrevin binding protein 1) remains a top candidate gene in schizophrenia. Reduced expression of this gene and of its encoded protein, dysbindin-1, have been reported in the brains of schizophrenia cases. It has not been established, however, if the protein reductions encompass all dysbindin-1 isoforms or if they are associated with decreased DTNBP1 gene expression. Using a matched pairs design in which each of 28 Caucasian schizophrenia cases was matched in age and sex to a normal Caucasian control, Western blotting of whole-tissue lysates of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) revealed significant reductions in dysbindin-1C (but not in dysbindin-1A or -1B) in schizophrenia (P = 0.022). These reductions occurred without any significant change in levels of the encoding transcript in the same tissue samples and in the absence of the only DTNBP1 risk haplotype for schizophrenia reported in the USA. Indeed, no significant correlations were found between case-control differences in any dysbindin-1 isoform and the case-control differences in its encoding mRNA. Consequently, the mean 60% decrease in dysbindin-1C observed in 71% of our case-control pairs appears to reflect abnormalities in mRNA translation and/or processes promoting dysbindin-1C degradation (e.g. oxidative stress, phosphorylation and/or ubiquitination). Given the predominantly post-synaptic localization of dysbindin-1C and known post-synaptic effects of dysbindin-1 reductions in the rodent equivalent of the DLPFC, the present findings suggest that decreased dysbindin-1C in the DLPFC may contribute to the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia by promoting NMDA receptor hypofunction in fast-spiking interneurons.
    Human Molecular Genetics 08/2009; 18(20):3851-63. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DTNBP1 (dystrobrevin binding protein 1) remains one of the top candidate genes in schizophrenia. Reduced expression of this gene and the protein it encodes, dysbindin-1, has been reported in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of schizophrenia cases. It has not been established, however, if all dysbindin-1 isoforms are reduced in the DLPFC or if the reduction is associated with reduced DTNBP1 gene expression. Using Western blotting of whole-tissue lysates of the DLPFC with antibodies differentially sensitive to the three major isoforms of this protein (dysbindin-1A, -1B, and -1C), we found no significant differences between our schizophrenia cases and matched controls in dysbindin-1A or -1B, but did find a mean 46% reduction in dysbindin-1C in 71% of 28 case-control pairs (p = 0.022). This occurred in the absence of the one DTNBP1 risk haplotype for schizophrenia reported in the US and without alteration in levels of dysbindin-1C transcripts. Conversely, the absence of changes in the dysbindin-1A and -1B isoforms was accompanied by increased levels of their transcripts. We thus found no correspondence between alterations in dysbindin-1 gene and protein expression, the latter of which might be due to posttranslational modifications such as ubiquitination. Reduced DLPFC dysbindin-1C in schizophrenia probably occurs in PSDs, where we find dysbindin-1C to be heavily concentrated in the human brain. Given known postsynaptic effects of dysbindin-1 reductions in the rodent homolog of the prefrontal cortex, these findings suggest that reduced dysbindin-1C in the DLPFC may contribute to cognitive deficits of schizophrenia by promoting NMDA receptor hypofunction.
    Nature Precedings.