August 6, 2013. The deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22 is associated with both schizophrenia and cognitive difficulties, reports a new study published online August 4 in Nature Neuroscience. The team of researchers, led by Utz Fischer of the University of Würzburg in Germany and Nelson Freimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, also found that TOP3β, a protein that originates from a gene located within the deleted region, interacts to form a complex with FMRP, the protein culprit behind the intellectual disability of Fragile X syndrome.
The findings suggest that alterations in this TOP3β-FMRP complex may be found in both disorders and could explain why schizophrenia and Fragile X syndrome have some cognitive deficitssymptoms in common, such as memory and thinking difficulties. A second study, also published online August 4 in Nature Neuroscience and led by Sige Zou and Weidong Wang of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, sheds additional light on how TOP3β and FMRP interact. (For more details, see the related news story.)—Allison A. Curley.