Journal of psychiatric research

Molecular evolution in the CREB1 signal pathway and a rare haplotype in CREB1 with genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.

PMID 25043418


CREB1 is a cAMP responsive transcriptional factor which plays a key role in neural development. CREB1 signal pathway (CSP) has been implicated repeatedly in studies of predisposition for schizophrenia. We speculated that CSP has undergone positive selection during evolution of modern human and some genes that have undergone natural selection in the past may predispose to schizophrenia (SCZ) in modern time. Positive selection and association analysis were employed to explore the molecular evolution of CSP and association with schizophrenia. Our results showed a pan-ethnic selection event on NRG1 and CREB1, as confirmed in all 14 ethnic populations studied, which also suggested a selection process occurred before the "Out of Africa" scenario. Analysis of 62 SNPs covering 6 CSP genes in 2019 Han Chinese (976 SCZ patients and 1043 healthy individuals) showed an association of two SNPs (rs4379857, P = 0.009, OR [95% CI]: 1.200 [1.379-1.046]; rs2238751, P = 0.023, OR [95% CI]: 1.253 [1.522-1.032]) with SCZ. However, none of these significances survived after multiple testing corrections. Nonetheless, we observed an association of a rare CREB1 haplotype CCGGC (Bonferroni corrected P = 1.74 × 10(-5)) with SCZ. Our study showed that there was substantial population heterogeneity in genetic predisposition to SCZ, and different genes in the CSP pathway may predispose to SCZ in different populations.