Mutations in the gene Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1 (DISC-1), are associated with schizophrenia, depression and other schizoaffective disorders. Biochemical and cellular studies show that the DISC1 protein interacts with a number of molecules to form a functional complex, and that it plays an important role in neural development.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have developed inducible dominant negative transgenic mice strains expressing different mutant DISC1 proteins. These mutations are thought to abolish the formation of normal DISC1 complexes by competing with endogenous DISC1 for available binding sites on target proteins. Researchers have found that the disruption of DISC1 protein during development produces deficits in sociability, latent inhibition and spatial working memory tasks in adult animals, thus effectively modeling the cognitive and social deficits associated with this disorder.
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