Navigation Links
Researchers connect APC protein to autism and mental retardation
Date:8/23/2010

BOSTON (August 23, 2010) A clue to the causes of autism and mental retardation lies in the synapse, the tiny intercellular junction that rapidly transfers information from one neuron to the next. According to neuroscientists at Tufts University School of Medicine, with students from the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts, a protein called APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) plays a key role in synapse maturation, and APC dysfunction prevents the synapse function required for typical learning and memory. The findings are published in the August 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"Both sides of the synapse are finely tuned for efficient transmission; an imbalance on either side can negatively impact function, resulting in cognitive deficits. Our study reveals that APC forms a key protein complex in the postsynaptic neuron that also provides signals to direct synapse maturation in the presynaptic neuron, ensuring that the two sides of the synapse mature in concert to provide optimal function," said senior author Michele H. Jacob, PhD, professor in the department of neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine. Jacob is also a member of the cell, molecular and developmental biology; cellular and molecular physiology; and neuroscience program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

In the in vivo study, the team blocked APC function and found that synaptic levels of the cell adhesion proteins neuroligin and neurexin dropped considerably. Without normal levels of these proteins, synapses were less mature both structurally and functionally. Mutations in the genes for neuroligin and neurexin are associated with autism in humans, but until now, little was known about the mechanisms responsible for localizing these proteins at the synapse.

"Our laboratory study is the first to show that APC is needed to recruit neuroligin and neurexin to the synapse. This finding provides new insights into the mechanisms required for proper synapse function as well as molecular changes at the synapse that likely contribute to autistic behaviors and learning deficits in people with APC loss of function gene mutations," said Jacob.

"Our study also sheds light on a poorly-understood but essential process, the cross-talk that occurs between presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. When we perturbed APC function on the postsynaptic side, we saw changes on both sides of the synapse, indicating that APC organizes a protein complex that communicates against the normal flow of traffic," said first author Madelaine Rosenberg, PhD, an affiliate of the department of neuroscience at TUSM.

The research team's next step is to examine the behavioral and cognitive changes that occur when APC is deleted in neurons of the mammalian brain. They have developed a new mouse model that will allow them to investigate how the loss of APC function leads to synaptic changes and impaired learning and memory.


'/>"/>

Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MIT researchers develop a better way to grow stem cells
2. U of M researchers identify 2 FDA approved drugs that may fight HIV
3. Researchers advance understanding of enzyme that regulates DNA
4. Juelich researchers take a look inside molecules
5. Researchers: Cures to diseases may live in our guts
6. Researchers discover how the storehouses of plant cells are formed
7. Mount Sinai researchers discover new mechanism behind cellular energy conversion
8. ISU researchers discover cause of immune system avoidance of certain pathogens
9. Researchers develop MRSA-killing paint
10. Researchers discover genetic link between immune system, Parkinsons disease
11. Ben-Gurion U. researchers receive US-AID MERC grant for water project with the Palestinian authority
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 ... Cloud used by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and ... platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine ... more personalized product and replenishment recommendations to their ... also on predictions of customer intent drawn from ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... 20, 2017 At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. ... manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the ... year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German biometrics company the two ... face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... Germany , March 16, 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity ... Continue Reading ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide ... Used ... Systems) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... The 2017 Colorado Manufacturing Awards ... 30 nominees and well as the first-year award for 2017 Manufacturing Women of ... was hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, among other sponsors. , The ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... The AMA ... 11 high school graduates from across the nation. The scholarships are created through funds ... member dues. , Scholarship criteria are set by the AMA Scholarship Committee, which is ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Ultrecht, Netherlands (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 ... ... Biometrics Technology today announced their strategic partnership to offer a full spectrum ... identity authentication, a comprehensive suite of biometric products and the ground-breaking proactive cybersecurity ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... NetDimensions appoints Bill Mastin, ... With over 20 years of experience in the learning technologies industry, Mastin joins NetDimensions ... within Learning Technologies Group plc (LTG). At LEO, Mastin served as SVP of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: