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Regulation of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptors by Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1

      Background

      Genetic studies have implicated disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) as a risk factor for a wide range of mental conditions, including schizophrenia. Because N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) dysfunction has been strongly linked to the pathophysiology of these conditions, we examined whether the NMDAR is a potential target of DISC1.

      Methods

      DISC1 was knocked down with a small inference RNA. NMDAR-mediated currents were recorded and NMDAR expression was measured.

      Results

      We found that cellular knockdown of DISC1 significantly increased NMDAR currents in cortical cultures, which were accompanied by an increase in the expression of NMDAR subunit, GluN2A. NMDAR-mediated synaptic response in prefrontal cortical pyramidal neurons was also increased by DISC1 knockdown in vivo. The effect of DISC1 knockdown on NMDAR currents in cortical cultures was blocked by protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, occluded by PKA activator, and prevented by phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor. Knockdown of DISC1 caused a significant increase of cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (CREB) activity. Inhibiting CREB prevented the DISC1 deficiency-induced increase of NMDAR currents and GluN2A clusters.

      Conclusions

      Our results suggest that DISC1 exerts an important impact on NMDAR expression and function through a phosphodiesterase 4/PKA/CREB-dependent mechanism, which provides a potential molecular basis for the role of DISC1 in influencing NMDAR-dependent cognitive and emotional processes.

      Key Words

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