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Schizophrenia’s Slow Cells

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Analysis of almost 1000 proteins in the stem cells of schizophrenia patients has indicated that their cellular machinery for making new proteins is reduced, with the rate of protein synthesis greatly impaired.

“Proteins are the workhorses of all cells and make up most of a cell’s structure and functions,” says Em/Prof Alan Mackay-Sim of Griffith University. “Cells live in a very dynamic environment and protein synthesis, which is so important for brain development, function and learning, is impacted by environmental and genetic factors.

“It is now becoming clearer that many small genetic variants are linked because they share control of cellular functions, in this case protein synthesis. If protein synthesis is altered even slightly, many cell functions would also be subtly changed. This could affect brain development and adult brain function in schizophrenia.

Mackay-Sim said the research, published in Translational Psychiatry (, “helps make sense of the rapid advances in genetics that have identified hundreds of risk genes for schizophrenia”.

The same issue of Translational Psychiatry reports contrasting findings from a second research collaboration involving Mackay-Sim that examined induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) in people with schizophrenia. These iPS cells are genetically engineered from skin cells and stimulated to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.