Path from schizophrenia genomics to biology: gene regulation and perturbation in neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells and genome editing
1Center for Psychiatric Genetics, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, IL, USA
2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Corresponding author: Jubao Duan. E-mail: email@example.com
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a devastating mental disorder afflicting 1% of the population. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of SZ have identified >100 risk loci. However, the causal variants/genes and the causal mechanisms remain largely unknown, which hinders the translation of GWAS findings into disease biology and drug targets. Most risk variants are noncoding, thus likely regulate gene expression. A major mechanism of transcriptional regulation is chromatin remodeling, and open chromatin is a versatile predictor of regulatory sequences. MicroRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation plays an important role in SZ pathogenesis. Neurons differentiated from patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide an experimental model to characterize the genetic perturbation of regulatory variants that are often specific to cell type and/or developmental stage. The emerging genome-editing technology enables the creation of isogenic iPSCs and neurons to efficiently characterize the effects of SZ-associated regulatory variants on SZ-relevant molecular and cellular phenotypes involving dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic neurotransmissions. SZ GWAS findings equipped with the emerging functional genomics approaches provide an unprecedented opportunity for understanding new disease biology and identifying novel drug targets.
Keywords: schizophrenia; genomics; open chromatin; microRNA; iPSC; neurons; genome editing
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