Schizophrenia (SZ) is a highly heterogeneous disorder in both its symptoms and risk factors. One of the most prevalent genetic risk factors for SZ is the hemizygous microdeletion at chromosome 22q11.2 (22q11DS) that confers a 25-fold increased risk. Six of the genes directly disrupted in 22qDS encode for mitochondrial-localizing proteins. Here, we test the hypothesis that stem cell-derived neurons from subjects with the 22q11DS and SZ have mitochondrial deficits relative to typically developing controls. Human iPSCs from four lines of affected subjects and five lines of controls were differentiated into forebrain-like excitatory neurons. In the patient group, we find significant reductions of ATP levels that appear to be secondary to reduced activity in oxidative phosphorylation complexes I and IV. Protein products of mitochondrial-encoded genes are also reduced. As one of the genes deleted in the 22q11.2 region is MRPL40, a component of the mitochondrial ribosome, we generated a heterozygous mutation of MRPL40 in a healthy control iPSC line. Relative to its isogenic control, this line shows similar deficits in mitochondrial DNA-encoded proteins, ATP level, and complex I and IV activity. These results suggest that in the 22q11DS MRPL40 heterozygosity leads to reduced mitochondria ATP production secondary to altered mitochondrial protein levels. Such defects could have profound effects on neuronal function in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry