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Somatic transposition in the brain has the potential to influence the biosynthesis of metabolites involved in Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia

György Abrusán

Author Affiliations

Synthetic and Systems Biology Unit, Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Temesváry krt. 62, Szeged H-6701, Hungary

Biology Direct 2012, 7:41  doi:10.1186/1745-6150-7-41

Published: 23 November 2012


It has been recently discovered that transposable elements show high activity in the brain of mammals, however, the magnitude of their influence on its functioning is unclear so far. In this paper, I use flux balance analysis to examine the influence of somatic retrotransposition on brain metabolism, and the biosynthesis of its key metabolites, including neurotransmitters. The analysis shows that somatic transposition in the human brain can influence the biosynthesis of more than 250 metabolites, including dopamine, serotonin and glutamate, shows large inter-individual variability in metabolic effects, and may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

This article was reviewed by Dr Kenji Kojima (nominated by Dr Jerzy Jurka) and Dr Eugene Koonin.

Retrotransposition; Brain; Metabolic network; Parkinson’s disease; Schizophrenia