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Zinc-Finger Proteins in Brain Development and Mental Illness

Current genomic screening technologies race to screen genes involved in mental illness in large population or case by case patients including schizophrenia, bipolar disease, depression, autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability. Among identified genes, zinc finger domain (ZNF/zfp) containing proteins come to attention. Copy number variant (CNV), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) as well as de novo mutations induced nonsense or missense mutations in proteins, have been found in a handful ZNF/zfp genes, much mutations are within or near zinc finger domains. Those genes are found to be expressed during early embryonic and postnatal development. Nevertheless, studies on roles of ZNF/zfp domain containing proteins and brain development are necessary to reveal pathogenesis of human mental illness. Here in this review, we summarize recent discoveries on mental illness related ZNF/zfp genes and their role in brain development.


Hong Li*, Meifang Lu and Xiaoyan Liu

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