Recruitment of PCM1 to the centrosome by the cooperative action of DISC1 and BBS4: a candidate for psychiatric illnesses

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;65(9):996-1006. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.65.9.996.


Context: A role for the centrosome has been suggested in the pathology of major mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia (SZ).

Objectives: To show that pericentriolar material 1 protein (PCM1) forms a complex at the centrosome with disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) and Bardet-Biedl syndrome 4 protein (BBS4), which provides a crucial pathway for cortical development associated with the pathology of SZ. To identify mutations in the PCM1 gene in an SZ population.

Design: Interaction of DISC1, PCM1, and BBS proteins was assessed by immunofluorescent staining and coimmunoprecipitation. Effects of PCM1, DISC1, and BBS on centrosomal functions and corticogenesis in vivo were tested by RNA interference. The PCM1 gene was examined by sequencing 39 exons and flanking splice sites.

Setting: Probands and controls were from the collection of one of us (A.E.P.).

Patients: Thirty-two probands with SZ from families that had excess allele sharing among affected individuals at 8p22 and 219 white controls.

Main outcome measures: Protein interaction and recruitment at the centrosome in cells; neuronal migration in the cerebral cortex; and variant discovery in PCM1 in patients with SZ.

Results: PCM1 forms a complex with DISC1 and BBS4 through discrete binding domains in each protein. DISC1 and BBS4 are required for targeting PCM1 and other cargo proteins, such as ninein, to the centrosome in a synergistic manner. In the developing cerebral cortex, suppression of PCM1 leads to neuronal migration defects, which are phenocopied by the suppression of either DISC1 or BBS4 and are exacerbated by the concomitant suppression of both. Furthermore, a nonsense mutation that segregates with SZ spectrum psychosis was found in 1 family.

Conclusions: Our data further support for the role of centrosomal proteins in cortical development and suggest that perturbation of centrosomal function contributes to the development of mental diseases, including SZ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Autoantigens / genetics*
  • Bardet-Biedl Syndrome / genetics*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics*
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Exons / genetics
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Plasmids
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*


  • Autoantigens
  • BBS4 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DISC1 protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • PCM1 protein, human
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger