Boymaw, Overexpressed in Brains with Major Psychiatric Disorders, May Encode a Small Protein to Inhibit Mitochondrial Function and Protein Translation

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The t(1,11) chromosome translocation co-segregates with major psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. The translocation disrupts the DISC1and Boymaw (DISC1FP1) genes on chromosomes 1 and 11, respectively. After translocation, two fusion genes are generated. Our recent studies found that the DISC1-Boymaw fusion protein is localized in mitochondria and inhibits oxidoreductase activity, rRNA expression, and protein translation. Mice carrying the DISC1-Boymaw fusion genes display intermediate behavioral phenotypes related to major psychiatric disorders. Here, we report that the Boymaw gene encodes a small protein predominantly localized in mitochondria. The Boymaw protein inhibits oxidoreductase activity, rRNA expression, and protein translation in the same way as the DISC1-Boymaw fusion protein. Interestingly, Boymaw expression is up-regulated by different stressors at RNA and/or protein translational levels. In addition, we found that Boymaw RNA expression is significantly increased in the postmortem brains of patients with major psychiatric disorders. Our studies therefore suggest that the Boymaw gene is a potential susceptibility gene for major psychiatric disorders in both the Scottish t(1,11) family and the general population of patients.

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