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Caltech scientists point to link between missing synapse protein and abnormal behaviors
Date:11/23/2011

ivity, and higher levels of anxiety. "Studies of mice with schizophrenia and autism-like features have reported similar behaviors," Kennedy notes.

"We do not know precisely how the molecular defect leads to the behavioral endophenotypes. That will be our work going forward," Kennedy says. "The molecular mechanistic links between a gene defect and defective behavior are complicated and, as yet, mostly unknown. Understanding them goes to the very heart of understanding brain function."

Indeed, she adds, the findings point to the need for a better understanding of the interactions that occur between proteins at synapses. Studies of these interactions could provide information needed to screen for new and better pharmaceuticals for the treatment of mental illnesses. "This study really reinforces the idea that small changes in the molecular structures at synapses are linked to major problems with behavior," Kennedy says.


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Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
debwms@caltech.edu
626-395-3227
California Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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