Enhanced cleavage of an atypical intron of dopamine D3-receptor pre-mRNA in chronic schizophrenia.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

PubMedID: 8987818

Schmauss C. Enhanced cleavage of an atypical intron of dopamine D3-receptor pre-mRNA in chronic schizophrenia. J Neurosci. 1996;16(24):7902-9.
The D2-class of dopamine receptors (D2, D3, and D4) is a target for typical and atypical neuroleptic drugs. They have been considered, therefore, as factors that may contribute to the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Interestingly, in cortical brain tissues obtained postmortem form patients with chronic schizophrenia D3 mRNA was found to be significantly lower than in the corresponding anatomic regions of controls. Because the expression of a truncated D3-like mRNA (named D3nf) appeared to be unaffected in schizophrenic brains, these findings suggest the possibility that the loss of D3 mRNA results from an abnormal splicing of D3 pre-mRNA in schizophrenia that is accompanied by an increased accumulation of the truncated D3nf mRNA. To test this, three approaches were taken. (1) Substrate D3 pre-mRNA was spliced in vitro in HeLa nuclear extracts. Results from these experiments show that D3nf mRNA results from the alternative removal of a short spliceosomal intron in D3 pre-mRNA that has a noncanonical 3' splice site. (2) Substrate D3 pre-mRNA was spliced in vivo in stably transfected rat GH3 cells. Despite the atypical 3' cleavage that is necessary to generate D3nf mRNA, D3 and D3nf mRNA were found to be processed at similar amounts. (3) The relative D3/D3nf splicing efficiencies were then determined in the anterior cingulate cortex of postmortem brains obtained from controls and from patients with chronic schizophrenia. Significant differences were found between the relative levels of D3 and D3nf mRNA, suggesting that an enhanced D3nf-specific splicing of D3 pre-mRNA in schizophrenia leads to a decreased expression of D3 mRNA.