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.

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Molecules suspected in schizophrenia drawn closer together

A study in the October 23 Journal of Neuroscience reports that Shank3, a postsynaptic protein implicated in schizophrenia and autism, molds signaling across the synapse via neuroligin and neurexin, two other molecules that have garnered attention from schizophrenia and autism researchers.

Read this story at Schizophrenia Research Forum.

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.