Mechanisms underlying the role of DISC1 in synaptic plasticity

Daniela Tropea, Neil Hardingham, Kirsty Millar, Kevin Fox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is an important hub protein, forming multimeric complexes by self-association and interacting with a large number of synaptic and cytoskeletal molecules. The synaptic location of DISC1 in the adult brain suggests a role in synaptic plasticity, and indeed, a number of studies have discovered synaptic plasticity impairments in a variety of different DISC1 mutants. This review explores the possibility that DISC1 is an important molecule for organizing proteins involved in synaptic plasticity and examines why mutations in DISC1 impair plasticity. It concentrates on DISC1's role in interacting with synaptic proteins, controlling dendritic structure and cellular trafficking of mRNA, synaptic vesicles and mitochondria. N-terminal directed mutations appear to impair synaptic plasticity through interactions with phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) and hence protein kinase A (PKA)/GluA1 and PKA/cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) signalling pathways, and affect spine structure through interactions with kalirin 7 (Kal-7) and Rac1. C-terminal directed mutations also impair plasticity possibly through altered interactions with lissencephaly protein 1 (LIS1) and nuclear distribution protein nudE-like 1 (NDEL1), thereby affecting developmental processes such as dendritic structure and spine maturation. Many of the same molecules involved in DISC1's cytoskeletal interactions are also involved in intracellular trafficking, raising the possibility that impairments in intracellular trafficking affect cytoskeletal development and vice versa. While the multiplicity of DISC1 protein interactions makes it difficult to pinpoint a single causal signalling pathway, we suggest that the immediate-term effects of N-terminal influences on GluA1, Rac1 and CREB, coupled with the developmental effects of C-terminal influences on trafficking and the cytoskeleton make up the two main branches of DISC1's effect on synaptic plasticity and dendritic spine stability. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2747-2771
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms underlying the role of DISC1 in synaptic plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this