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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of neuronal complexes in human x-linked brain diseases.

Beyond finding individual genes that are involved in medical disorders, an important challenge is the integration of sets of disease genes with the complexities of basic biological processes. We examine this issue by focusing on neuronal multiprotein complexes and their components encoded on the human X chromosome. Multiprotein signaling complexes in the postsynaptic terminal of central nervous system synapses are essential for the induction of neuronal plasticity and cognitive processes in animals. The prototype complex is the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor complex/membrane-associated guanylate kinase-associated signaling complex ( NRC/MASC) comprising 185 proteins and embedded within the postsynaptic density (PSD), which is a set of complexes totaling ~1,100 proteins. It is striking that 86% (6 of 7) of X-linked NRC/MASC genes and 49% (19 of 39) of X-chromosomal PSD genes are already known to be involved in human psychiatric disorders. Moreover, of the 69 known proteins mutated in X-linked mental retardation, 19 (28%) encode postsynaptic proteins. The high incidence of involvement in cognitive disorders is also found in mouse mutants and indicates that the complexes are functioning as integrated entities or molecular machines and that disruption of different components impairs their overall role in cognitive processes. We also noticed that NRC/MASC genes appear to be more strongly associated with mental retardation and autism spectrum disorders. We propose that systematic studies of PSD and NRC/MASC genes in mice and humans will give a high yield of novel genes important for human disease and new mechanistic insights into higher cognitive functions.[1]


  1. The role of neuronal complexes in human x-linked brain diseases. Laumonnier, F., Cuthbert, P.C., Grant, S.G. Am. J. Hum. Genet. (2007) [Pubmed]
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