The DPYSL2 gene connects mTOR and schizophrenia

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We previously reported a schizophrenia-associated polymorphic CT di-nucleotide repeat (DNR) at the 5′-untranslated repeat (UTR) of DPYSL2, which responds to mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling with allelic differences in reporter assays. Now using microarray analysis, we show that the DNR alleles interact differentially with specific proteins, including the mTOR-related protein HuD/ELAVL4. We confirm the differential binding to HuD and other known mTOR effectors by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. We edit HEK293 cells by CRISPR/Cas9 to carry the schizophrenia risk variant (13DNR) and observe a significant reduction of the corresponding CRMP2 isoform. These edited cells confirm the response to mTOR inhibitors and show a twofold shortening of the cellular projections. Transcriptome analysis of these modified cells by RNA-seq shows changes in 12.7% of expressed transcripts at a false discovery rate of 0.05. These transcripts are enriched in immunity-related genes, overlap significantly with those modified by the schizophrenia-associated gene, ZNF804A, and have a reverse expression signature from that seen with antipsychotic drugs. Our results support the functional importance of the DPYSL2 DNR and a role for mTOR signaling in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere933
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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