The human synapsin III gene (synapsin III) is a member of a neuron-specific phosphoprotein gene family involved in short-term neurotransmitter release. We mapped synapsin III to chromosomal region 22q13 (13.1-13.31) by fluorescence in situ hybridization, a region that has been identified as a potential schizophrenia susceptibility locus. The dinucleotide repeat marker D22S280 located in intron 5 of synapsin III was genotyped in a linkage and family-based association study to assess the role of the synapsin III locus in the etiology of schizophrenia. In 12 pedigrees with periodic catatonia comprising 135 individuals, we found exclusion of linkage of marker D22S280 using lod score analysis with autosomal dominant/recessive models as well as affected only LOD score methods with dominant/recessive models. In a family-based association study of 61 unrelated parent-offspring trios with schizophrenia (according to the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition [DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association, 1994]), we found no association of individual D22S280 alleles to disease. Results of a multiallelic transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT(max) = 3.00; P = 0.55) challenged the possibility that D22S280 alleles appear with DSM-IV schizophrenia more frequently than expected. In addition, no evidence for gender differences or parent-of-origin effects were found. Thus, the synapsin III locus at chromosome 22q13 is not likely to contain a schizophrenia susceptibility gene.