Neuroscience

Hopping DNA linked to schizophrenia

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
507,
Page:
11
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/507011f
Published online

Highly read on www.cell.com 27 Jan–26 Feb

Mobile DNA elements activated by environmental or genetic triggers could boost susceptibility to schizophrenia.

Tadafumi Kato at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan, Kazuya Iwamoto at the University of Tokyo and their colleagues found higher copy numbers of a genetic element, called the L1 retrotransposon, in the DNA extracted from the post-mortem brains of patients with schizophrenia compared with that from the brains of healthy individuals. The authors also showed that the L1 elements tended to localize to genes linked to schizophrenia and neuronal synapses.

The same phenomenon was observed in mice and monkeys exposed perinatally to chemical stressors that are known to promote schizophrenia-like behaviours, and in cultured neurons derived from stem cells carrying a schizophrenia-related chromosomal deletion.

Neuron 81, 306313 (2014)

Additional data