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Genetic analysis of GABRB3 at 15q12 as a candidate gene of schizophrenia

Huang, Chia-Chuna,b; Cheng, Min-Chihc; Tsai, Ho-Mind; Lai, Chih-Haod; Chen, Chia-Hsiangd,e

doi: 10.1097/YPG.0000000000000032
Original Articles

Objective Copy number variations encompassing the chromosome 15q11-q13 region have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia. The study aimed to investigate whether the GABRB3 gene mapped to 15q12 was associated with schizophrenia.

Materials and methods We resequenced the promoter and all the exonic regions of the GABRB3 gene in 349 patients with schizophrenia and 386 control participants from Taiwan using the Sanger sequencing method. We also used a reporter gene assay to assess the functional impact of variants identified from the promoter region.

Results We identified a total of six common single nucleotide polymorphisms and eight rare variants in this sample. No genetic association of these common single nucleotide polymorphisms with schizophrenia was detected. A missense mutation Y402H at exon 9 was detected in two patients and two controls. Polyphen-2 predicted that the impact of this variant was benign. In addition, we identified two patient-specific variants at the promoter of GABRB3 that showed significantly increased promoter activity in a reporter gene assay.

Conclusion The identification of two private patient-only variants at the promoter region with enhanced promoter activity supports the rare allele hypothesis of schizophrenia and suggests that increased GABRB3 expression may confer an increased risk of schizophrenia.

aInstitute of Medical Sciences, Tzu-Chi University

bDepartment of Anesthesiology, Buddhist Tzu-Chi General Hospital

cDepartment of Psychiatry, Yuli Mental Health Research Center, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Hualien

dDepartment of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou

eChang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Correspondence to Chia-Hsiang Chen, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, 5 Fusing Street, Gueishan, Taoyuan 33300, Taiwan Tel: +886 3 3281200 x2439; fax: +886 3 3280267; e-mail:

Received July 6, 2013

Accepted April 10, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins