OPEN PloS one | 31 Aug 2013
U Ozomaro, G Cai, Y Kajiwara, S Yoon, V Makarov, R Delorme, C Betancur, S Ruhrmann, P Falkai, HJ Grabe, W Maier, M Wagner, L Lennertz, R Moessner, DL Murphy, JD Buxbaum, S Züchner and DE Grice
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a syndrome characterized by recurrent and intrusive thoughts and ritualistic behaviors or mental acts that a person feels compelled to perform. Twin studies, family studies, and segregation analyses provide compelling evidence that OCD has a strong genetic component. The SLITRK1 gene encodes a developmentally regulated stimulator of neurite outgrowth and previous studies have implicated rare variants in this gene in disorders in the OC spectrum, specifically Tourette syndrome (TS) and trichotillomania (TTM). The objective of the current study was to evaluate rare genetic variation in SLITRK1 in risk for OCD and to functionally characterize associated coding variants. We sequenced SLITRK1 coding exons in 381 individuals with OCD as well as in 356 control samples and identified three novel variants in seven individuals. We found that the combined mutation load in OCD relative to controls was significant (p = 0.036). We identified a missense N400I change in an individual with OCD, which was not found in more than 1000 control samples (P<0.05). In addition, we showed the the N400I variant failed to enhance neurite outgrowth in primary neuronal cultures, in contrast to wildtype SLITRK1, which enhanced neurite outgrowth in this assay. These important functional differences in the N400I variant, as compared to the wildtype SLITRK1 sequence, may contribute to OCD and OC spectrum symptoms. A synonymous L63L change identified in an individual with OCD and an additional missense change, T418S, was found in four individuals with OCD and in one individual without an OCD spectrum disorder. Examination of additional samples will help assess the role of rare SLITRK1 variation in OCD and in related psychiatric illness.
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