Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Molecular psychiatry

A factor for autism and schizophrenia

Deficits in a protein that binds RNA may be a common risk factor for disorders including schizophrenia, autism and cognitive impairment.

Nelson Freimer at the University of California, Los Angeles, Utz Fischer of the University of Würzburg, Germany, and their colleagues studied a population in northern Finland in which such disorders are particularly frequent. They discovered that many people in this region are missing a small part of a chromosome that includes the gene for the RNA-binding protein TOP3β. The mutation increases the risk of schizophrenia and several other neurodevelopmental disorders.

TOP3β interacts with FMRP, a protein associated with Fragile X syndrome and autism. In a separate paper, Sige Zou and Weidong Wang of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, and their colleagues characterized these interactions and show that mutations in TOP3β or in FMRP can cause abnormal development of synapses in flies and mice.

Nature Neurosci. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.3484; http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.3479 (2013)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

A factor for autism and schizophrenia. Nature 500, 125 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/500125c

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing