MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marcelo Pablo Coba PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
Keck School of Medicine of USC
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) are complex brain disorders where a multitude or risk factors have been implicated in contributing to the disease, with a low number of genes that have been strongly implicated in a very low number of cases.
One of these genes is Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), which was first described in 2000 as a balanced translocation that segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. Because DISC1 does not have an identified protein function such as enzymatic, channel, transporter, etc… the field moved to try to understand what proteins are associated (physically connected) to DISC1 and to try to explain DISC1 function through the function of its protein interactors. This means that if DISC1 binds proteins X, Y and Z, then mutations in the DISC1 gene should affect the functions of these proteins. Therefore, there has been much effort in trying to identify DISC1 protein interactors. However this task has not been straightforward.