Protein Structure Implicated in Schizophrenia

Since it is unknown how genetic and environmental risk factors act together on an individual to cause schizophrenia, treatments heavily rely on treating symptoms rather than underlying causes. Because of this, patients can never achieve full remission. Researchers from UCD, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Beaumont Hospital, have published an improved characterization, implicating proteins and genes associated with postsynaptic density (PSD) in schizophrenia. This could lead to novel treatments to target this structure in the future.

The PSD is a complex network of proteins that has an effect on adaptive behaviors like learning and memory. “We combined proteomic and genomic methods to characterise postsynaptic density-associated protein expression in schizophrenia. We found more than 700 protein identifications and 143 differentially expressed proteins in the PSD. Our pathway analysis of these differentially expressed proteins implicated the cellular processes of endocytosis, long-term potentiation and calcium signalling”, said Conway Fellow, Dr. Gerard Cagney.

Dr. Melanie Föcking, first author and postdoctoral researcher, said, “Our study may provide the first evidence pointing towards pharmacological manipulation of (Clathrin-mediated) endocytosis as a novel treatment for schizophrenia.”


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