Functional brain defects in a mouse model of a chromosomal t(1;11) translocation that disrupts DISC1 and confers increased risk of psychiatric illness

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 19;11(1):135. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01256-3.


A balanced t(1;11) translocation that directly disrupts DISC1 is linked to schizophrenia and affective disorders. We previously showed that a mutant mouse, named Der1, recapitulates the effect of the translocation upon DISC1 expression. Here, RNAseq analysis of Der1 mouse brain tissue found enrichment for dysregulation of the same genes and molecular pathways as in neuron cultures generated previously from human t(1;11) translocation carriers via the induced pluripotent stem cell route. DISC1 disruption therefore apparently accounts for a substantial proportion of the effects of the t(1;11) translocation. RNAseq and pathway analysis of the mutant mouse predicts multiple Der1-induced alterations converging upon synapse function and plasticity. Synaptosome proteomics confirmed that the Der1 mutation impacts synapse composition, and electrophysiology found reduced AMPA:NMDA ratio in hippocampal neurons, indicating changed excitatory signalling. Moreover, hippocampal parvalbumin-positive interneuron density is increased, suggesting that the Der1 mutation affects inhibitory control of neuronal circuits. These phenotypes predict that neurotransmission is impacted at many levels by DISC1 disruption in human t(1;11) translocation carriers. Notably, genes implicated in schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder by large-scale genetic studies are enriched among the Der1-dysregulated genes, just as we previously observed for the t(1;11) translocation carrier-derived neurons. Furthermore, RNAseq analysis predicts that the Der1 mutation primarily targets a subset of cell types, pyramidal neurons and interneurons, previously shown to be vulnerable to the effects of common schizophrenia-associated genetic variants. In conclusion, DISC1 disruption by the t(1;11) translocation may contribute to the psychiatric disorders of translocation carriers through commonly affected pathways and processes in neurotransmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins* / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins* / metabolism
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia* / genetics


  • DISC1 protein, human
  • Disc1 protein, mouse
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Parvalbumins