DISC1 as a therapeutic target for mental illnesses

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2012 Dec;16(12):1151-60. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2012.719879. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


Introduction: Many genetic studies have indicated that DISC1 is not merely "disrupted-in-schizophrenia," but is more generally implicated in various brain dysfunctions associated with aberrant neurodevelopment and intracellular signaling pathways. Thus, the DISC1 gene is mildly associated with a variety of brain disorders, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, and autism. This novel concept fits with the results from biological studies of DISC1, which include cell and animal models.

Areas covered: We review the molecular structure and functions of DISC1, particularly those in conjunction with its important interactors. Functions of these interacting proteins are also introduced under the concept of the "DISC1 interactome." Finally, we discuss how the DISC1 interactome can provide potential therapeutic targets for mental illnesses.

Expert opinion: Modulation of DISC1 stability and post-transcriptional modifications may be key targets to address DISC1-related pathology. In addition, modulation of DISC1 interactors and the mechanisms of their interactions with DISC1 may also provide drug targets. Disc1 rodent models can subsequently be used as templates for in vivo validations of compounds designed for DISC1 and its interacting proteins. Furthermore, these rodents will serve as genetic models for schizophrenia and related conditions, especially in conjunction with their pathologies during the neurodevelopmental trajectory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*


  • DISC1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins