Gene expression elucidates functional impact of polygenic risk for schizophrenia – New work by the CommonMind Consortium – See Synapse for raw and processed data, and analysis results: www.synapse.org/cmc
Abstract: Over 100 genetic loci harbor schizophrenia-associated variants, yet how these variants confer liability is uncertain. The CommonMind Consortium sequenced RNA from dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of people with schizophrenia (N = 258) and control subjects (N = 279), creating a resource of gene expression and its genetic regulation. Using this resource, ~20% of schizophrenia loci have variants that could contribute to altered gene expression and liability. In five loci, only a single gene was involved: FURIN, TSNARE1, CNTN
4, CLCN3 or SNAP91. Altering expression of FURIN, TSNARE1or CNTN4 changed neurodevelopment in zebrafish; knockdown of FURIN in human neural progenitor cells yielded abnormal migration. Of 693 genes showing significant case-versus-control differential expression, their fold changes were ≤ 1.33, and an independent cohort yielded similar results. Gene co-expression implicates a network relevant for schizophrenia. Our findings show that schizophrenia is polygenic and highlight the utility of this resource for mechanistic interpretations of genetic liability for brain diseases.