Springer Nature [academic journals on nature.com], European Journal of Human Genetics, 6(22), p. 840-843
Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) gene has been established as a risk factor for various neuropsychiatric phenotypes. Both coding and regulatory variants in DISC1 have been identified and associated with these phenotypes in genetic studies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of protein coding genes. Since the miRNA-mRNA target recognition mechanism is vulnerable to disruption by DNA polymorphisms, we investigated whether polymorphisms in the DISC1 3′UTR affect binding of miRNAs and lead to allele-specific regulation of DISC1. We identified four predicted polymorphic miRNA target sites in the DISC1 3′UTR, and demonstrated that miR-135b-5p regulates the level of DISC1 mRNA. Moreover, DISC1 regulation by miR-135b-5p is allele specific: miR-135b-5p only binds to the major allele (A) of rs11122396, not to the minor allele (G). Thus, the G allele may be functionally related to the DISC1-associated phenotypes by abolishing regulation by miR-135b-5p, leading to elevated DISC1 levels.