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  • Original Research Article
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Characterisation, mutation detection, and association analysis of alternative promoters and 5′ UTRs of the human dopamine D3 receptor gene in schizophrenia


The dopamine D3 receptor gene (DRD3) is a candidate for a number of psychiatric conditions including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcohol and drug abuse. Previous studies have reported associations between polymorphisms in DRD3 and these disorders, but these findings may have reflected linkage disequilibrium with pathogenic variants that are further upstream. We have isolated and sequenced approximately 9 kb of genomic sequence upstream of the human DRD3 translational start site. Using 5′ RACE, we have identified within this region three additional exons and two putative promoter regions which show promoter activity in three different cell lines. A 5′ UTR identified only in lymphoblasts is spread over three exons and is 353 bp long. A second 5′ UTR, found in adult and fetal brain, lymphocytes, kidney and placenta is spread over two exons and is 516 bp long. A 260-bp sequence within this 9 kb corresponds to a previously reported EST, but corresponding mRNA could not be found in the tissues above. The EST, 5′ UTRs and putative promoter regions have been analysed for polymorphisms, revealing 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms, seven of which were tested for association in a large sample of unrelated patients with schizophrenia and matched controls. No associations were observed with schizophrenia. In addition we failed to replicate previous findings of association with homozygosity of the Ser9Gly variant. The results from this study imply that neither the coding nor the regulatory region of DRD3 plays a major role in predisposition to schizophrenia.

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This work was supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council (UK). RJA was an MRC PhD student.

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Correspondence to P R Buckland.

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Anney, R., Rees, M., Bryan, E. et al. Characterisation, mutation detection, and association analysis of alternative promoters and 5′ UTRs of the human dopamine D3 receptor gene in schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatry 7, 493–502 (2002).

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