Post-translational protein modifications in schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • Research investigating the pathophysiology of schizophrenia has not yet precisely defined the molecular phenotype of this disorder. Many studies have investigated cellular dysfunction by examining expression levels of molecular targets in postmortem patient brain; however, inconsistencies between transcript and protein measures in schizophrenia are common in the field and represent a challenge to the identification of a unified model of schizophrenia pathogenesis. In humans, >4800 unique proteins are expressed, and the majority of these are modified by glycans and/or lipids. Estimates indicate ~70% of all eukaryotic proteins are modified by at least one type of glycosylation, while nearly 20% of all proteins are known to be lipid-modified. Protein post-translational modification (PTM) by glycosylation and lipidation rely on the spatiotemporal colocalization of enzyme, substrate, and glycan or lipid donor molecule and do not require an upstream “blueprint” or specialized processing machinery for synthesis. Glycan and lipid PTMs can thus facilitate cellular adaptation to environmental signals more rapidly than changes of gene or protein expression, and can significantly impact the localization, function, and interactions of modified substrates, though relatively few studies in schizophrenia have evaluated the PTM status of target proteins. A growing body of literature reports glycosylation and lipidation abnormalities in schizophrenia brain as well as in patient peripheral fluids. In this review, we explain the functional significance of key glycan and lipid PTMs and summarize current findings associated with abnormal glycosylation and lipidation in this illness.
  • Published In

  • npj Schizophrenia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mueller TM; Meador-Woodruff JH
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 1