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Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder with an unclear pathophysiology. Increased expression of the immune gene C4 has been linked to a greater risk of developing schizophrenia; however, it is not known whether C4 plays a causative role in this brain disorder. Using confocal imaging and whole-cell electrophysiology, we demonstrate that overexpression of C4 in mouse prefrontal cortex neurons leads to perturbations in dendritic spine development and hypoconnectivity, which mirror neuropathologies found in schizophrenia patients. We find evidence that microglia-mediated synaptic engulfment is enhanced with increased expression of C4. We also show that C4-dependent circuit dysfunction in the frontal cortex leads to decreased social interactions in juvenile and adult mice. These results demonstrate that increased expression of the schizophrenia-associated gene C4 causes aberrant circuit wiring in the developing prefrontal cortex and leads to deficits in juvenile and adult social behavior, suggesting that altered C4 expression contributes directly to schizophrenia pathogenesis.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS biology
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The expression of a gene in an abnormal place, or at an abnormal time in an organism. Ectopic Gene Expression is often induced artificially by genetic techniques.
A form of gene interaction whereby the expression of one gene interferes with or masks the expression of a different gene or genes. Genes whose expression interferes with or masks the effects of other genes are said to be epistatic to the effected genes. Genes whose expression is affected (blocked or masked) are hypostatic to the interfering genes.
Techniques used to add in exogenous gene sequence such as mutated genes; REPORTER GENES, to study mechanisms of gene expression; or regulatory control sequences, to study effects of temporal changes to GENE EXPRESSION.
The number of copies of a given gene present in the cell of an organism. An increase in gene dosage (by GENE DUPLICATION for example) can result in higher levels of gene product formation. GENE DOSAGE COMPENSATION mechanisms result in adjustments to the level GENE EXPRESSION when there are changes or differences in gene dosage.
The rostral part of the frontal lobe, bounded by the inferior precentral fissure in humans, which receives projection fibers from the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus. The prefrontal cortex receives afferent fibers from numerous structures of the diencephalon, mesencephalon, and limbic system as well as cortical afferents of visual, auditory, and somatic origin.
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Bioinformatics is the application of computer software and hardware to the management of biological data to create useful information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied...