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Spectrum: Autism Research News


July 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Autism gene regulates neuron shape

by  /  31 July 2012

TAOK2, a gene in the autism-associated 16p11.2 chromosomal region, is part of a signaling pathway that builds neuronal connections during development, according to a study published 10 June in Nature Neuroscience.

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Molecular mechanisms: FMRP target linked to cognitive skills

by  /  11 July 2012

The protein missing in people with fragile X syndrome may activate the expression of a signaling protein dubbed NOS1 during prenatal development of brain regions involved in language and social skills, according to a study published 11 May in Cell.


Molecular mechanisms: Fragile X clumps function at synapses

by  /  3 July 2012

FMRP, the protein missing in people with fragile X syndrome, localizes in clusters of proteins at neuronal junctions that relay sensory and motor information, according to a study published 23 April in The Journal of Comparative Neurology.

April 2012

Studies highlight promise of fragile X treatment

by  /  30 April 2012

A promising approach to treating fragile X syndrome could benefit people even after the critical window of early brain development, and alleviate core symptoms of autism, according to two studies published this month.


Large sequencing study ties autism genes to fragile X

by  /  26 April 2012

Children with autism carry twice as many new and damaging genetic mutations as typically developing children, according to a new study published in Neuron. The researchers also identified intriguing genetic links between autism and fragile X syndrome.

March 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Protein synthesis boosted in fragile X

by  /  2 March 2012

A cellular pathway that initiates protein synthesis may be overactive in individuals with fragile X syndrome, according a study published 23 January in Genes, Brain and Behavior.

February 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Study reveals new fragile X drug target

by  /  22 February 2012

Researchers have identified a new mechanism that may underlie a runaway cell signaling pathway in fragile X syndrome. The results were published 22 January in Nature Neuroscience.  


SHANK2 study bolsters ‘multi-hit’ gene model of autism

by  /  13 February 2012

By screening the genomes of hundreds of people with autism and analyzing the effects of newly identified mutations in cultured neurons, researchers have clarified the disorder’s link to the SHANK2 gene.


Molecular mechanisms: Lithium treats fragile X in mice

by  /  3 February 2012

Lithium alleviates the symptoms of fragile X syndrome in mice in part by normalizing protein synthesis in the brain, according to a study published 29 December in Neurobiology of Disease.

December 2011
Chart explaining healthy neuron synapse function.

Tuberous sclerosis, fragile X may be molecular opposites

by  /  1 December 2011

Some forms of autism are caused by too many proteins at the synapse, the junction between neurons, whereas other forms result from too few, according to a study published 23 November in Nature.

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