Two new strains of mice carrying different mutations in the SHANK2 gene show similar autism-like behaviors but opposing effects on brain signaling, according to two independent studies published 14 June in Nature.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Mice that are unable to produce a carbohydrate molecule that regulates cell growth show behaviors that resemble the core deficits of autism, according to a study published 27 March in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers have identified deletions in SHANK1 — the third member of a gene family that is closely linked to autism — in five men with the disorder, they reported 4 May in the American Journal of Human Genetics. This is the first study linking SHANK1 mutations to people with autism.
Mutant mice with autism-like behaviors have fewer behavioral impairments when provided with toys, exercise wheels and contact with other mice, than do those that live in typical laboratory cages, according to a study published 5 April in Human Molecular Genetics.
An autism-associated variant in a gene that regulates the chemical messenger serotonin leads to abnormal serotonin regulation and autism-like behaviors in mice. The results were published 3 April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.