Risk gene-set and pathways in 22q11.2 deletion-related schizophrenia: a genealogical molecular approach.


Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. [Email]


The 22q11.2 deletion is a strong, but insufficient, "first hit" genetic risk factor for schizophrenia (SZ). We attempted to identify "second hits" from the entire genome in a unique multiplex 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (DS) family. Bioinformatic analysis of whole-exome sequencing and comparative-genomic hybridization array identified de novo and inherited, rare and damaging variants, including copy number variations, outside the 22q11.2 region. A specific 22q11.2-haplotype was associated with psychosis. The interaction of the identified "second hits" with the 22q11.2 haploinsufficiency may affect neurodevelopmental processes, including neuron projection, cytoskeleton activity, and histone modification in 22q11.2DS-ralated psychosis. A larger load of variants, involved in neurodevelopment, in combination with additional molecular events that affect sensory perception, olfactory transduction and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling may account for the development of 22q11.2DS-related SZ. Comprehensive analysis of multiplex families is a promising approach to the elucidation of the molecular pathophysiology of 22q11.2DS-related SZ with potential relevance to treatment.