Proteins that help guide neurons to their correct destination in the brain may be involved in autism, says Christopher Cowan.
Mutations in two proteins that help guide neurons as they grow in the developing brain may be risk factors for autism, according to a study published 14 January in Human Molecular Genetics.
Electrical signals generated by dendrites, the branches of neurons that receive information from neighboring cells, may help neurons tune their responses to stimuli, according to a study published 7 November in Nature.
Studies at the level of neural circuits are needed to better understand the importance of both increased and decreased connectivity between different regions in the autism brain, say John Rubenstein and Vikaas Sohal.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science is mapping the complex projections of neurons throughout the mouse brain. They presented results from the first 1,400 brains on Tuesday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Depleting excess levels of a molecule involved in neuronal signaling prevents the cognitive and motor symptoms of Angelman syndrome in a mouse model of the disorder, according to a report published 15 August in Cell Reports.
The autism-linked protein MET is expressed at the junctions between neurons during early brain development in mice, suggesting that it helps establish the connections, according to a study published 21 June in The Journal of Comparative Neurology.
Emerging evidence indicates that microglia, the brain’s immune cells, are altered in some individuals with autism, raising questions about their role in brain development, says Beth Stevens.