Single molecule in situ hybridization reveals distinct localizations of schizophrenia risk-related transcripts SNX19 and AS3MT in human brain

Yoichiro Takahashi, Kristen R. Maynard, Madhavi Tippani, Andrew E. Jaffe, Keri Martinowich, Joel E. Kleinman, Daniel R. Weinberger, Thomas M. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genome-wide association studies have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with schizophrenia risk. Integration of RNA-sequencing data from postmortem human brains with these risk SNPs identified transcripts associated with increased schizophrenia susceptibility, including a class of exon 9-spliced isoforms of Sorting nexin-19 (SNX19d9) and an isoform of Arsenic methyltransferase (AS3MT) splicing out exons 2 and 3 (AS3MTd2d3). However, the biological function of these transcript variants is unclear. Defining the cell types where these risk transcripts are dominantly expressed is an important step to understand function, in prioritizing specific cell types and/or neural pathways in subsequent studies. To identify the cell type-specific localization of SNX19 and AS3MT in the human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), we used single-molecule in situ hybridization techniques combined with automated quantification and machine learning approaches to analyze 10 postmortem brains of neurotypical individuals. These analyses revealed that both pan-SNX19 and pan-AS3MT were more highly expressed in neurons than non-neurons in layers II/III and VI of DLPFC. Furthermore, pan-SNX19 was preferentially expressed in glutamatergic neurons, while pan-AS3MT was preferentially expressed in GABAergic neurons. Finally, we utilized duplex BaseScope technology, to delineate the localization of SNX19d9 and AS3MTd2d3 splice variants, revealing consistent trends in spatial gene expression among pan-transcripts and schizophrenia risk-related transcript variants. These findings demonstrate that schizophrenia risk transcripts have distinct localization patterns in the healthy human brains, and suggest that SNX19 transcripts might disrupt the normal function of glutamatergic neurons, while AS3MT may lead to disturbances in the GABAergic system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3536-3547
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology


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