Protein Translation and Psychiatric Disorders

Neuroscientist. 2020 Feb;26(1):21-42. doi: 10.1177/1073858419853236. Epub 2019 Jul 4.


Although historically research has focused on transcription as the central governor of protein expression, protein translation is now increasingly being recognized as a major factor for determining protein levels within cells. The central nervous system relies on efficient updating of the protein landscape. Thus, coordinated regulation of mRNA localization, initiation, or termination of translation is essential for proper brain function. In particular, dendritic protein synthesis plays a key role in synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory as well as cognitive processes. Increasing evidence suggests that impaired mRNA translation is a common feature found in numerous psychiatric disorders. In this review, we describe how malfunction of translation contributes to development of psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction.

Keywords: addiction; bipolar disorder; mRNA translation; major depressive disorder; protein translation; psychiatric disorders; schizophrenia.