A cross-species genetic analysis identifies candidate genes for mouse anxiety and human bipolar disorder

Front Behav Neurosci. 2015 Jul 1:9:171. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00171. eCollection 2015.


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a significant neuropsychiatric disorder with a lifetime prevalence of ~1%. To identify genetic variants underlying BD genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been carried out. While many variants of small effect associated with BD have been identified few have yet been confirmed, partly because of the low power of GWAS due to multiple comparisons being made. Complementary mapping studies using murine models have identified genetic variants for behavioral traits linked to BD, often with high power, but these identified regions often contain too many genes for clear identification of candidate genes. In the current study we have aligned human BD GWAS results and mouse linkage studies to help define and evaluate candidate genes linked to BD, seeking to use the power of the mouse mapping with the precision of GWAS. We use quantitative trait mapping for open field test and elevated zero maze data in the largest mammalian model system, the BXD recombinant inbred mouse population, to identify genomic regions associated with these BD-like phenotypes. We then investigate these regions in whole genome data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium's bipolar disorder GWAS to identify candidate genes associated with BD. Finally we establish the biological relevance and pathways of these genes in a comprehensive systems genetics analysis. We identify four genes associated with both mouse anxiety and human BD. While TNR is a novel candidate for BD, we can confirm previously suggested associations with CMYA5, MCTP1, and RXRG. A cross-species, systems genetics analysis shows that MCTP1, RXRG, and TNR coexpress with genes linked to psychiatric disorders and identify the striatum as a potential site of action. CMYA5, MCTP1, RXRG, and TNR are associated with mouse anxiety and human BD. We hypothesize that MCTP1, RXRG, and TNR influence intercellular signaling in the striatum.

Keywords: CMYA5; MCTP1; RXRG; TNR; anxiety; bipolar disorder; cross-species.