FOXP2, a language gene that is linked to autism, may regulate active connections between neurons by controlling the levels of a protein called SRPX2, according to a study published 22 November in Science.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Individuals with autism may carry genetic variants in a pathway important for brain development, according to a study published in September in Translational Psychiatry.
Infection during pregnancy may alter the chemical tags that are added to histones, proteins that form a spool for DNA, according to a study published 9 February in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Drugs that target these tags may treat neuropsychiatric disorders, the researchers say.
Genes involved in neuropsychiatric disorders tend to be required for the formation of primary cilia — small tentacles on the cell surface that sense the external environment — according to a study published 3 October in PLoS One.
Researchers have used stem cells to identify 801 neuronal genes that are preferentially expressed from either the maternal or paternal chromosome, according to a study published 30 August in PLoS One. Of these genes, 26 are linked to autism and 48 to schizophrenia.
FOXP2, a protein linked to language development that regulates the expression of some autism-associated genes, also dampens expression of DISC1, mutations in which have been linked to both schizophrenia and autism. The results were published 20 March in Human Molecular Genetics.
Neurons lacking PTEN, an autism-associated gene also involved in cancer, are hyperconnected to both near and distant brain cells, according to a study published 1 February in The Journal of Neuroscience.
DISC1, an autism-associated protein, can form large aggregates that deplete the amount of functional DISC1 in cells, according to a study published 14 February in Human Molecular Genetics.