Schizophrenia research

Abnormal N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase expression in prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia.

PMID 26104473


Changes in the extent of the posttranslational modification glycosylation have been previously reported in several brain regions in schizophrenia. Quality control within the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi, branching of glycans, intracellular trafficking and targeting, protein-protein interactions, and endocytosis are processes regulated by both N-linked and O-linked glycosylation. Previous studies in schizophrenia have found altered glycan biosynthesis and abnormal glycan levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma, as well as altered expression in frontal cortex of glycosyltransferase transcripts encoding proteins associated with both N- and O-linked glycosylation. The N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases (GlcNAcTs) are glycosylating enzymes that play a key role in adding N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) to substrates to facilitate their proper trafficking, intracellular targeting, and cellular function. Given previous results indicating abnormal glycosylation in schizophrenia, we hypothesized that these GlcNAcTs may be abnormally expressed in this illness. We measured protein expression of nine distinct GlcNAcTs by Western blot analysis in postmortem samples of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) from twelve pairs of elderly patients with schizophrenia and comparison subjects. We found decreased protein expression of UDP-GlcNAc:BetaGal Beta-1,3 GlcNAcT 8 (B3GNT8) and mannosyl (alpha-1,3-)-glycoprotein beta-1,4 GlcNAcT (MGAT4A) expression in schizophrenia. These data provide further evidence that glycosylation is dysregulated in schizophrenia, and suggest a potential mechanism associated with alterations in protein function, trafficking, and intracellular targeting in this illness.