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ID 1168

COMT and Schizophrenia

Description:
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains why the gene COMT, which detoxifies dopamine, is a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
Transcript:
COMT is one of the genes that has been studied, rather extensively, as a candidate risk gene for schizophrenia. COMT stands for catechol-O-methyl transferase. The gene encodes a protein, most genes code for proteins, which are enzymes, or various other molecules in cells. They are the machinery of how a cell works and the gene is the blueprint for transcribing this machinery. COMT was discovered by Julie Axelrod at the NIH in 1957 for which he actually won the Nobel Prize. It was the first of a family of these enzymes that inactivated chemicals in the body by methylating them. These were like detoxifying enzymes. And there’s been a lot of interest in COMT because it detoxifies, among other things, dopamine. And since dopamine is one of the chemicals that has been on the top-ten list of likely culprits in the biology of schizophrenia, the fact that COMT affects dopamine made COMT an appealing gene to look for. And COMT makes dopamine more or less active.
Keywords:
schizophrenia, comt, dopamine, catechol-O-methyl transferase, catechol, methyl transferase, gene, protein, daniel, weinberger
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