Schizophrenia risk proteins ZNF804A and NT5C2 interact in cortical neurons

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The zinc finger protein 804A (ZNF804A) and the 5'-nucleotidase cytosolic II (NT5C2) genes are amongst the first schizophrenia susceptibility genes to have been identified in large-scale genome-wide association studies. ZNF804A has been implicated in the regulation of neuronal morphology and is required for activity-dependent changes to dendritic spines. Conversely, NT5C2 has been shown to regulate 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase activity and has been implicated in protein synthesis in human neural progenitor cells. Schizophrenia risk genotype is associated with reduced levels of both NT5C2 and ZNF804A in the developing brain, and a yeast two-hybrid screening suggests that their encoded proteins physically interact. However, it remains unknown whether this interaction also occurs in cortical neurons and whether they could jointly regulate neuronal function. Here, we show that ZNF804A and NT5C2 colocalise and interact in HEK293T cells and that their rodent homologues, ZFP804A and NT5C2, colocalise and form a protein complex in cortical neurons. Knockdown of the Zfp804a or Nt5c2 genes resulted in a redistribution of both proteins, suggesting that both proteins influence the subcellular targeting of each other. The identified interaction between ZNF804A/ZFP804A and NT5C2 suggests a shared biological pathway pertinent to schizophrenia susceptibility within a neuronal cell type thought to be central to the neurobiology of the disorder, providing a better understanding of its genetic landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2102-2117
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
Early online date26 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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