hKCa3/KCNN3 potassium channel gene: association of longer CAG repeats with schizophrenia in Israeli Ashkenazi Jews, expression in human tissues and localization to chromosome 1q21

Mol Psychiatry. 1999 May;4(3):254-60. doi: 10.1038/


We demonstrate a significant association between longer CAG repeats in the hKCa3/KCNN3 calcium-activated potassium channel gene and schizophrenia in Israeli Ashkenazi Jews. We genotyped alleles from 84 Israeli Jewish patients with schizophrenia and from 102 matched controls. The overall allele frequency distribution is significantly different in patients vs controls (P = 0.00017, Wilcoxon Rank Sum test), with patients showing greater lengths of the CAG repeat. Northern blots reveal substantial levels of approximately 9 kb and approximately 13 kb hKCa3/KCNN3transcripts in brain, striated muscle, spleen and lymph nodes. Within the brain, hKCa3/KCNN3transcripts are most abundantly expressed in the substantia nigra, lesser amounts are detected in the basal ganglia, amygdala, hippocampus and subthalamic nuclei, while little is seen in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and thalamus. In situ hybridization reveals abundant hKCa3/KCNN3 message localized within the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area, and along the distributions of dopaminergic neurons from these regions into the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic pathways. FISH analysis shows that hKCa3/KCNN3 is located on chromosome 1q21.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1*
  • DNA Primers
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Israel
  • Jews / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Potassium Channels / genetics*
  • Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Trinucleotide Repeats*


  • DNA Primers
  • KCNN3 protein, human
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels