Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), a susceptibility gene for major mental illnesses, regulates multiple aspects of embryonic and adult neurogenesis. Here, we show that DISC1 suppression in newborn neurons of the adult hippocampus leads to overactivated signaling of AKT, another schizophrenia susceptibility gene. Mechanistically, DISC1 directly interacts with KIAA1212, an AKT binding partner that enhances AKT signaling in the absence of DISC1, and DISC1 binding to KIAA1212 prevents AKT activation in vitro. Functionally, multiple genetic manipulations to enhance AKT signaling in adult-born neurons in vivo exhibit similar defects as DISC1 suppression in neuronal development that can be rescued by pharmacological inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an AKT downstream effector. Our study identifies the AKT-mTOR signaling pathway as a critical DISC1 target in regulating neuronal development and provides a framework for understanding how multiple susceptibility genes may functionally converge onto a common pathway in contributing to the etiology of certain psychiatric disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas