The neuron-specific K +-Cl -cotransporter SLC12A5, also known as KCC2, helps mediate the electrophysiological effects of GABA. The pattern of KCC2 expression during early brain development suggests that its upregulation drives the postsynaptic switch of GABA from excitation to inhibition.Wepreviously found decreased expression of full-length KCC2 in the postmortem hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia, but not in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Using PCR and rapid amplification of cDNA ends, we discovered several previously unrecognized alternative KCC2 transcripts in both human adult and fetal brain in addition to the previously identified full-length (NM_020708.3) and truncated (AK098371) transcripts. We measured the expression levels of four relatively abundant truncated splice variants, including three novel transcripts (ΔEXON6, EXON2B, and EXON6B) and one previously described transcript (AK098371), in a large human cohort of nonpsychiatric controls across the lifespan, and in patients with schizophrenia and affective disorders. In SH-SY5Y cell lines, these transcripts were translated into proteins and expressed at their predicted sizes. Expression of the EXON6B transcript is increased in the DLPFC of patients with schizophrenia (p=0.03) but decreased in patients with major depression (p=0.04). The expression of AK098371 is associated with a GAD1 single nucleotide polymorphism (rs3749034) that previously has been associated with GAD67 expression and risk for schizophrenia. Our data confirm the developmental regulation of KCC2 expression, and provide evidence that KCC2 transcripts are differentially expressed in schizophrenia and affective disorders. Alternate transcripts from KCC2 may participate in the abnormal GABA signaling in the DLPFC associated with schizophrenia.
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