A rare missense variant in RCL1 segregates with depression in extended families.
Amin N., de Vrij FMS., Baghdadi M., Brouwer RWW., van Rooij JGJ., Jovanova O., Uitterlinden AG., Hofman A., Janssen HLA., Darwish Murad S., Kraaij R., Stedehouder J., van den Hout MCGN., Kros JM., van IJcken WFJ., Tiemeier H., Kushner SA., van Duijn CM.
Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder with a complex and elusive etiology that is moderately heritable. Identification of genes would greatly facilitate the elucidation of the biological mechanisms underlying depression, however, its complex etiology has proved to be a major bottleneck in the identification of its genetic risk factors, especially in genome-wide association-like studies. In this study, we exploit the properties of a genetic isolate and its family-based structure to explore whether relatively rare exonic variants influence the burden of depressive symptoms in families. Using a multistep approach involving linkage and haplotype analyses followed by exome sequencing in the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study, we identified a rare (minor allele frequency (MAF)=1%) missense c.1114C>T mutation (rs115482041) in the RCL1 gene segregating with depression across multiple generations. Rs115482041 showed significant association with depressive symptoms (N=2393, βT-allele=2.33, P-value=1 × 10-4) and explained 2.9% of the estimated genetic variance of depressive symptoms (22%) in ERF. Despite being twice as rare (MAF<0.5%), c.1114C>T showed similar effect and significant association with depressive symptoms in samples from the independent population-based Rotterdam study (N=1604, βT-allele=3.60, P-value=3 × 10-2). A comparison of RCL1 expression in human and mouse brain revealed a striking co-localization of RCL1 with the layer 1 interlaminar subclass of astrocytes found exclusively in higher-order primates. Our findings identify RCL1 as a novel candidate gene for depression and offer insights into mechanisms through which RCL1 may be relevant for depression.