|Abstract (English)|| |
Chronic mental illnesses (CMI), such as schizophrenia or recurrent affective disorders, are complex conditions with both genetic and non-genetic elements. In many other chronic brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia, sporadic instances of the disease are more common than gene-driven familial cases. Yet, the pathology of these conditions can be characterized by the presence of aberrant protein homeostasis, proteostasis, resulting in misfolded or aggregated proteins in the brains of patients that predominantly do not derive from genetic mutations. While visible deposits of aggregated protein have not yet been detected in CMI patients, we propose the existence of more subtle protein misassembly in these conditions, which form a continuum with the psychiatric phenotypes found in the early stages of many neurodegenerative conditions. Such proteinopathies need not rely on genetic variation. In a similar manner to the established aberrant neurotransmitter homeostasis in CMI, aberrant homeostasis of proteins is a functional statement that can only partially be explained by, but is certainly complementary to, genetic approaches. Here, we review evidence for aberrant proteostasis signatures from post mortem human cases, in vivo animal work, and in vitro analysis of candidate proteins misassembled in CMI. The five best-characterized proteins in this respect are currently DISC1, dysbindin-1, CRMP1, TRIOBP-1, and NPAS3. Misassembly of these proteins with inherently unstructured domains is triggered by extracellular stressors and thus provides a converging point for non-genetic causes of CMI.