Genetic variability in the NMDA-dependent AMPA trafficking cascade is associated with alcohol dependence

Victor M. Karpyak, Jennifer R. Geske, Colin L. Colby, David A. Mrazek, Joanna M. Biernacka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Model studies in mice indicate that the severity of alcohol withdrawal is associated with polymorphic variation and expression of the MPDZ gene. Current knowledge about variation in the human MPDZ gene is limited; however, our data indicate its potential association with alcohol dependence. The multi-PDZ protein is an important part of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-dependent α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor trafficking cascade that controls glutamate-related excitatory neurotransmission. To investigate association of variation in the NMDA-dependent AMPA trafficking cascade with alcohol dependence, we performed a gene-set (pathway) analysis using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from the Study of Addiction: Genetic and Environment. Rather than testing for association with each SNP individually, which typically has low power to detect small effects of multiple SNPs, gene-set analysis applies a single statistical test to evaluate whether variation in a set of genes is associated with the phenotype of interest. Gene-set analysis of 988 SNPs in 13 genes in the pathway demonstrated a significant association with alcohol dependence, with P < 0.01 for the global effect of variation in this pathway. The statistically significant association of alcohol dependence with genetic variation in the NMDA-dependent AMPA receptor trafficking cascade indicates a need for further investigation of the role of this pathway in alcohol dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-806
Number of pages9
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • AMPA
  • Alcohol dependence
  • NMDZ
  • gene set analysis
  • genetics
  • pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic variability in the NMDA-dependent AMPA trafficking cascade is associated with alcohol dependence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this