Autism protein connects neurons

An autism-linked protein called CASPR2 promotes the development of dendrites, the bushy structures atop neurons that receive signals from other neurons. The study, published 30 October in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the molecule helps set up the lines of communication in the brain early in development.

Read this story at SFARI.org.

Autism exomes revealed

Spontaneously occurring, protein-altering mutations likely contribute to some cases of autism, according to a trio of the largest-to-date exome sequencing studies of the disorder published in Nature. The papers forge a path for others to follow in the tricky business of linking mutations — even rare, nasty ones — to disease.

Read this article in Schizophrenia Research Forum.

MeCP2 loss ups signal strength

Neurons lacking MeCP2, the protein deficient in Rett syndrome, have stronger signals than controls do when measured amid the electrical activity used by neurons to communicate. The findings suggest that how signals are measured can affect studies of other autism-related mutations.

Read this article at SFARI.