UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Genetic Phenomena | Genomics | Nervous System | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Translational Medical Research


Both heritability and environment contribute to risk for schizophrenia. However, the molecular mechanisms of interactions between genetic and non-genetic factors remain unclear. Epigenetic regulation of neuronal genome may be a presumable mechanism in pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Here, we performed analysis of open chromatin landscape of gene promoters in prefrontal cortical (PFC) neurons from schizophrenic patients. We cataloged cell-type-based epigenetic signals of transcriptional start sites (TSS) marked by histone H3-K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) across the genome in PFC from multiple schizophrenia subjects and age-matched control individuals. One of the top-ranked chromatin alterations was found in the major histocompatibility (MHC) locus on chromosome 6 highlighting the overlap between genetic and epigenetic risk factors in schizophrenia. The chromosome conformation capture (3C) analysis in human brain cells revealed the architecture of multipoint chromatin interactions between the schizophrenia-associated genetic and epigenetic polymorphic sites and distantly located HLA-DRB5 and BTNL2 genes. In addition, schizophrenia-specific chromatin modifications in neurons were particularly prominent for non-coding RNA genes, including an uncharacterized LINC01115 gene and recently identified BNRNA_052780. Notably, protein-coding genes with altered epigenetic state in schizophrenia are enriched for oxidative stress and cell motility pathways. Our results imply the rare individual epigenetic alterations in brain neurons are involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.


Epigenetics in the nervous system, Schizophrenia

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DOI of Published Version



Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Oct 17;9(1):256. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0596-1. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translational psychiatry

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.