Brain study fingers AS3MT and BORCS7 genes for schizophrenia

Transcripts in the brain have identified likely risk genes for schizophrenia along chromosome 10, according to a paper published May 9 in Nature Medicine. Led by Daniel Weinberger of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore, Maryland, in collaboration with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the researchers sequenced RNA messages in brain to find associations between transcripts and risk alleles identified by previous genetic studies. This turned up a link to a gene called BORCS7 and a novel, human-specific form of the AS3MT gene.

The study illustrates the information bonanza within transcript data, which measures gene expression levels and splice variants. This approach can pick up where genetic studies have left off: for example, genomewide association studies (GWAS) that survey common genetic variants, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), have cast suspicion upon the 10q24.32 region that is chock-a-block with genes, but stopped short of deciphering the true culprits.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.