May 21, 2018

ResearchProtein suppression produces autism-like symptoms

A new study from the prestigious Mount Sinai School of Medicine has identified that the BET protein family plays a vital role in regulation of certain genes that are responsible for functioning and growth of neurons. The study that was headed by Anne Schaefer was published this week in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. The team of scientists found hat transcription regulators (BETs), a family of epigenetic regulatory proteins when inhibited artificially, affected genes that were vital to neuronal development and cognition. This inhibition let to production of autism-like symptoms in the mice. The findings of the study reinforce the theory that environmental factors could be playing an important role in leading to ASD by affecting certain genes.

Journal Reference: The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Suppression of epigenetic brain proteins induces autism-like syndrome.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2015. <>.

Genetic variety in autism could help build precision therapies

Scientists are forever disgruntled about the fact that they are not being able to pinpoint one exact gene which leads to a particular disorder, and just correct the gene to bring about cure. This is especially true in case of autism and various other neurodevelopmental disorders. In a new paper published by Mriganka Sur and his team from the Picower Institute of Learning and Memory in collaboration with scientists from MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital, scientists have extolled how this very heterogeneity could be a blessing and not a curse. Published in the journal Science, the scientists are exploring neural connections, behavioral traits, and severity of impairment that characterize these various disorders and trying to connect the dots with rare syndromes like Rett syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. They are suggesting designing precision clinical trials using biomarkers that can be used in both human beings and mice to understand and correlate symptoms with individual groups of genomes.

Journal Reference: M. Sahin et al. Genes, circuits, and precision therapies for autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, Science (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3897

Premature births might weaken connections

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine have found that prematurely born babies tend to have a higher risk of neuropsychiatric disorders as they grow. This might be due to weaker brain connection in the networks that link communication, emotion processing and attention. A new study led by Cynthia Rogers will be presented at the annual meeting of Society for Neuroscience this month.

Journal reference: Washington University School of Medicine. “Premature birth appears to weaken brain connections: Early intervention may improve outcomes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2015. <>.

About the author 

Igor Berezner

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