Genes disrupted in schizophrenia may be revealed by de novo mutations in affected persons from otherwise healthy families. Furthermore, during normal brain development, genes are expressed in patterns specific to developmental stage and neuroanatomical structure. We identified de novo mutations in persons with schizophrenia and then mapped the responsible genes onto transcriptome profiles of normal human brain tissues from age 13 weeks gestation to adulthood. In the dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during fetal development, genes harboring damaging de novo mutations in schizophrenia formed a network significantly enriched for transcriptional coexpression and protein interaction. The 50 genes in the network function in neuronal migration, synaptic transmission, signaling, transcriptional regulation, and transport. These results suggest that disruptions of fetal prefrontal cortical neurogenesis are critical to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. These results also support the feasibility of integrating genomic and transcriptome analyses to map critical neurodevelopmental processes in time and space in the brain.
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