|Abstract (English)|| |
Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a prominent gene in mental illness research, encoding a scaffold protein known to be of importance in the developing cerebral cortex. Reelin is a critical extracellular protein for development and lamination of the prenatal cortex and which has also been independently implicated in mental illness. Regulation of reelin activity occurs through processing by the metalloproteinases ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5. Through cross-breeding of heterozygous transgenic DISC1 mice with heterozygous reeler mice, which have reduced reelin, pups heterozygous for both phenotypeswere generated. Fromthese,we determine that transgenic DISC1 leads to a reduction in the processing of reelin, with implications for its downstream signalling element Dab1. An effect of DISC1 on reelin processing was confirmed in vitro, and revealed that intracellular DISC1 affects ADAMTS-4 protein, which in turn is exported and affects processing of extracellular reelin. In transgenic rat cortical cultures, an effect of DISC1 on reelin processing could also be seen specifically in early, immature neurons, but was lost in calretinin and reelin-positive mature neurons, suggesting cell-type specificity. DISC1 therefore acts upstream of reelin in the perinatal cerebral cortex in a cell type/time specific manner, leading to regulation of its activity through altered proteolytic cleavage. Thus a functional link is demonstrated between two proteins, each of independent importance for both cortical development and associated cognitive functions leading to behavioural maladaptation and mental illness.