It is now evident that nonprotein coding RNA (ncRNA) plays a critical role in regulating the timing and rate of protein translation. The potential importance of ncRNAs is suggested by the observation that the complexity of an organism is poorly correlated with its number of protein coding genes, yet highly correlated with its number of ncRNA genes, and that in the human genome only a small fraction (2-3%) of genetic transcripts are actually translated into proteins. In this review, we discuss several examples of known RNA mechanisms for the regulation of protein synthesis.
Mutations in the dysferlin gene (DYSF) on chromosome 2p13 cause distinct phenotypes of muscular dystrophy: limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B (LGMD2B), Miyoshi myopathy (MM), and distal anterior compartment myopathy, which are known by the term 'dysferlinopathy'. We performed mutation analyses of DYSF in 14 Italian patients from 10 unrelated families with a deficiency of dysferlin protein below 20% of the value in normal controls by immunoblotting analysis. We identified 11 different mutations, including eight missense and three deletion mutations.
Covalent modifications of DNA and its surrounding chromatin constitute an essential and powerful regulatory mechanism for gene transcription. Epigenetics is the study of this regulatory system. There is now strong albeit indirect evidence that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Furthermore, the discovery that valproic acid, a widely used psychotropic, has powerful epigenetic effects in clinically relevant concentrations suggests new therapeutic possibilities, i.e., drugs that act on chromatin structure.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Vienna, Austria: 1996)
Higher plasma homocysteine concentrations can influence genomic DNA methylation in peripheral blood cells. In the present controlled study we observed a significant increase (10%) of genomic DNA methylation in patients with alcoholism (t = -3.16, df = 158, p = 0.002) which was significantly associated with their elevated homocysteine levels (multiple linear regression, p < 0.001).
Several lines of evidence support the role of an epigenetic-induced GABAergic cortical dysfunction in schizophrenia psychopathology, which is probably dependent on an increase in the expression of DNA-methyltransferase-1 occurring selectively in GABAergic neurons. The key enzyme regulating GABA synthesis, termed glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) and the important neurodevelopmental protein called reelin are coexpressed in GABAergic neurons. Upon release, GABA and reelin bind to postsynaptic receptors located in dendrites, somata, or the axon initial segment of pyramidal neurons.
There is compelling evidence from family, twin and adoption studies of a substantial genetic contribution to schizophrenia. The mode of transmission is complicated and very rarely if ever involves a single gene. Rather schizophrenia results from multiple genes of small effect and their interplay with the environment. Perhaps because the overall size of the genetic effect is large, accounting for about 80 % of variance, definite environmental factors have been difficult to pin down.
Revista Brasileira De Psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil: 1999)
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a worldwide highly prevalent mental disease. This disorder has a genetic inheritance characterized by complex transmission mechanisms involving multiple genes. Many investigation strategies have been put forward in order to identify BD susceptibility genes. Linkage studies reveal markers and candidate genes for the association studies. Monoaminergic system genes and intracellular signaling pathway genes are also important candidates to be investigated in the etiology of this disorder.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
OBJECTIVE: To comment on the article in this issue of the Journal by Professor Michael Rutter, "Environmentally Mediated Risks for Psychopathology: Research Strategies and Findings," in the context of current research findings on gene-environment interaction, epigenetics, and gene expression. METHOD: Animal and human studies are reviewed that differentiate the role of gene expression in developmental biology and psychopathology as well as studies that begin to specify the biological mechanisms involved in determining how genotype is translated into phenotype.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) clinical presentation is remarkably diverse, and can vary both within and across patients over time. This variability in the phenotypic expression has led to the hypothesis that OCD is a heterogeneous disorder and that this heterogeneity obscures the findings of clinical, natural history and treatment response studies and complicates the search for vulnerability genes. A complete understanding of what comprises OCD and the underlying etiological mechanisms will require a dramatic change in how the disorder is conceptualized.
This is the first report of a full genome scan of sexual orientation in men. A sample of 456 individuals from 146 families with two or more gay brothers was genotyped with 403 microsatellite markers at 10-cM intervals. Given that previously reported evidence of maternal loading of transmission of sexual orientation could indicate epigenetic factors acting on autosomal genes, maximum likelihood estimations (mlod) scores were calculated separated for maternal, paternal, and combined transmission.