Linking neurodevelopmental and synaptic theories of mental illness through DISC1

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Nov 18;12(12):707-22. doi: 10.1038/nrn3120.


Recent advances in our understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders has blown away the diagnostic boundaries that are defined by currently used diagnostic manuals. The disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene was originally discovered at the breakpoint of an inherited chromosomal translocation, which segregates with major mental illnesses. In addition, many biological studies have indicated a role for DISC1 in early neurodevelopment and synaptic regulation. Given that DISC1 is thought to drive a range of endophenotypes that underlie major mental conditions, elucidating the biology of DISC1 may enable the construction of new diagnostic categories for mental illnesses with a more meaningful biological foundation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / genetics
  • Mental Disorders* / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Synapses / genetics*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics


  • DISC1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins