[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/303251]
Prof Dieter Wildenauer
Prof Assen Jablensky
Prof Sibylle Schwab
Brief description Schizophrenia is a potentially disabling disorder with severe impact on the individual, the family and the community. The risk that a child born today will develop schizophrenia is about 1%. Genetic factors play a major predisposing role in schizophrenia, but environmental factors contribute as well. The molecular causes of schizophrenia are yet to be discovered, as knowledge about complex brain functions and their disorders is rapidly increasing. The identification and characterisation of genetic factors involved in brain function and dysfunction is likely to bring about novel insights into the neural and molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia. There is evidence, reported by several groups including our own, that genes, co-segregating with schizophrenia in families are located in a region on chromosome 6p. By fine-grain genetic dissection of this region, we and others have found that the gene coding for the protein dysbindin is associated with schizophrenia. Our aim is to identify the DNA variant(s) in the dysbindin gene, as well as variants in other candidate genes that may be located in chromosome 6p. We will use state-of-the art methods and information on genes and DNA variants, made available through the Human Genome Project. Once genetic variants are identified, we will analyse gene expression in post mortem brain tissue of persons with schizophrenia and study the distribution and function of the proteins coded by the identified genes. Our ultimate goal is to identify specific genetic factors involved in the brain dysfunction characterising schizophrenia. If successful, this should lead to clues about the causes of the disorder. In addition, the study will contribute to the development of methods for early diagnosis and prevention. Possibly, the most important outcome will be the identification of molecular targets for novel and more specific pharmacological treatments that may eventually replace current symptom-oriented antipsychotic medications.
Funding Amount $AUD 462,250.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant