There are hints that transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses electricity to change how brain cells function, might improve the symptoms of autism. But hopes are running way ahead of the facts.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: ion channels
By analyzing stem cells derived from baby teeth, researchers have tracked a child’s autism to mutations in a gene called TRPC6. The molecular saga highlights a painless way to probe the role some genes play in autism.
Long pieces of RNA that do not code for protein have diverse and important roles in the cell and may contribute to autism risk, say Nikolaos Mellios and Mriganka Sur.
Loss of one copy of the autism-linked gene PTEN in mouse neurons boosts production of a certain ion channel, and decreases the neurons’ firing rate, according to a study published 21 October in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Mutations in the autism-linked protein NHE6 may block the development of neuronal junctions by interfering with a growth factor called BDNF, according to a study published 2 October in Neuron.
A new online database lists the likely RNA-binding sites of more than 8,000 proteins from 289 species. Researchers debuted the resource in the 11 July issue of Nature.