Novel ultra-Rare exonic variants identified in a founder population implicate cadherins in schizophrenia
Raiyan Rashid Kahn,
Lorraine N. Clark,
Zeynep H Gumus,
Robert J Klein,
Laurie J. Ozelius,
Anil K. Malhotra,
Posted 30 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.29.20115352
Posted 30 May 2020
Identification of rare genetic variants associated with schizophrenia has proven challenging due to multiple sources of heterogeneity, which may be reduced in founder populations. We examined ultra-rare exonic variants in 786 patients with schizophrenia and 463 healthy comparison subjects, all drawn from the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Cases had a higher frequency of novel missense or loss of function (MisLoF) variants compared to controls. Characterizing 141 "case-only" genes (in which 3 or more cases in our dataset had MisLoF variants with none found in controls), we identified cadherins as a novel gene set associated with schizophrenia, including a recurrent mutation in PCDHA3. Modeling the effects of purifying selection demonstrated that deleterious ultra-rare variants are greatly over-represented in the Ashkenazi population, resulting in enhanced power for rare variant association. Identification of cell adhesion genes in the cadherin/protocadherin family helps specify the synaptic abnormalities central to the disorder, and suggests novel potential treatment strategies.
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