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DISC1 Gene and Enzyme Interact in Schizophrenia

Study sheds light on the cause and possible treatment of schizophrenia

FRIDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- New evidence of the interaction between the disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene, a known candidate for susceptibility to the disease, and the gene encoding enzyme phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B), has been presented in a report in the Nov. 18 issue of Science.

David J. Porteous, Ph.D, of the University of Edinburgh, U.K., and colleagues unearthed evidence of an interaction between the enzyme and the DISC1 protein. In turn, this influences the activity of the adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling molecule, a messenger implicated in learning, memory and mood.

"We show that DISC1 interacts with the UCR2 domain of PDE4B, and that elevation of cellular cAMP leads to dissociation of PDE4B from DISC1 and an increase in PDE4B activity," the authors write. "We propose a mechanistic model whereby DISC1 sequesters PDE4B in resting cells and releases it in an activated state in response to elevated cAMP."

A related editorial points out that this clarification of the relationship between schizophrenia and other mood disorders could help in the development of new therapeutic strategies. The authors caution that more studies are required to ascertain whether or not such strategies are feasible.

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