Monday, May 16, 2011

Genetic Mutation and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that caused by environmental and genetic factors. Approximately 1% of population suffers from schizophrenia and 10% of people with this illness commit suicide. People with schizophrenia have gene mutation 4 times more frequently than normal people. From previous study in the last three years, researchers have discovered that these mutations consist of copy-number variation, the CNVs, which is a type of genetic variation that delete or insert a base pair from the normal DNA sequence and changes the entire DNA sequence from the mutated point and causing mRNA changes during the transcription and produces new amino acids.

A new research was published in Nature this year in February by Professor Aiden Corvin of the Psychosis Research Group. They not only confirmed the CNVs identified in earlier studies, but they also found that duplications at the tip of chromosome 7q are 14 times higher in people with schizophrenia than in healthy people. These CNVs (the duplications) impact a gene called VIPR2, formally known as the Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Receptor 2 which is expressed in nervous system and is important for brain development. It also helps to regulate the formation and activity of neurons in the brain. In mice, VIPR2 is also responsible for behavioral processes like learning and daily activities. Researchers also found that individuals with mutations had a greater expression of VIPR2 and they believed that these mutations increase signaling in the VIP pathway. In conclusion, there are more duplications occur in chromosome in people with schizophrenia than normal people. This mutation makes the VIPR2 gene more active and this mutated VIPR2 gene caused schizophrenia.

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