A variant of neurexin 1, a gene linked to both autism and schizophrenia, is associated with less brain matter than normal in healthy individuals, according to a study published 8 June in PLoS ONE.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.
The protein missing in people with fragile X syndrome regulates the activity of more than 800 other proteins, including some key players in autism, according to a study published 22 July in Cell. Many of these autism-associated proteins cluster on either side of the synapse, the junction between neurons.
Small fragments of RNA, called microRNAs, can fine-tune the levels of proteins at the junctions between neurons in response to cell signals, according to a study published 10 June in Molecular Cell.
Mice lacking SHANK1, a member of a family of autism-associated proteins, communicate less with their mothers and potential mates than controls do, according to a study published 9 June in PLoS One.
Taking antidepressants while pregnant may slightly increase the risk of having a child with autism, reports a study published 4 July in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Wendy Chung planned to spend her career in a research lab, identifying rare pathologies. But life had other plans for her.
Small duplications and deletions of chromosomal regions that include genes needed for the development of the nervous system are more common in individuals with autism than in controls, according to a study published in the June issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics.
Deletions or duplications of the UBE3A gene lead to both Angelman syndrome and some cases of autism, respectively. Studying the effects of altered gene dosage in this region will provide insights into brain defects and suggest targets for therapies for both disorders, says expert Benjamin Philpot.
Some autism-associated mutations activate a stress response that could lead to symptoms of the disorder, according to a study published 3 June in Cell Death and Disease.