Bioinformatic analyses and conceptual synthesis of evidence linking ZNF804A to risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Jonathan L. Hess, Thomas P. Quinn, Schahram Akbarian, Stephen J. Glatt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Advances in molecular genetics, fueled by the results of large-scale genome-wide association studies, meta-analyses, and mega-analyses, have provided the means of identifying genetic risk factors for human disease, thereby enriching our understanding of the functionality of the genome in the post-genomic era. In the past half-decade, research on neuropsychiatric disorders has reached an important milestone: the identification of susceptibility genes reliably associated with complex psychiatric disorders at genome-wide levels of significance. This age of discovery provides the groundwork for follow-up studies designed to elucidate the mechanism(s) by which genetic variants confer susceptibility to these disorders. The gene encoding zinc-finger protein 804A (ZNF804A) is among these candidate genes, recently being found to be strongly associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder via one of its non-coding mutations, rs1344706. Neurobiological, molecular, and bioinformatic analyses have improved our understanding of ZNF804A in general and this variant in particular; however, more work is needed to establish the mechanism(s) by which ZNF804A variants impinge on the biological substrates of the two disorders. Here, we review literature recently published on ZNF804A, and analyze critical concepts related to the biology of ZNF804A and the role of rs1344706 in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We synthesize the results of new bioinformatic analyses of ZNF804A with key elements of the existing literature and knowledge base. Furthermore, we suggest some potentially fruitful short- and long-term research goals in the assessment of ZNF804A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-35
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Alternative splicing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Epigenetics
  • Microarray
  • Protein model
  • RNA-sequencing
  • Rs1344706
  • Schizophrenia
  • ZNF804A


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