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Neuroscientists find excessive protein synthesis linked to autistic-like behaviors
Date:12/23/2012

ty (the afflicted mice were unable to navigate mazes that had been slightly altered from ones they had previously solved). The researchers also found altered communication between neurons in brain regions linked to the abnormal behaviors.

To remedy to these autistic-like behaviors, the researchers then tested a drug, 4EGI-1, which diminishes protein synthesis induced by the increased levels of eIF4E. Through this drug, they hypothesized that they could return the afflicted mice's protein production to normal levels, and, with it, reverse autistic-like behaviors.

The subsequent experiments confirmed their hypotheses. The mice were less likely to engage in repetitive behaviors, more likely to interact with other mice, and were successful in navigating mazes that differed from those they previously solved, thereby showing enhanced behavioral flexibility. Additional investigation revealed that these changes were likely due to a reduction in protein productionthe levels of newly synthesized proteins in the brains of these mice were similar to those of normal mice.

"These findings highlight an invaluable mouse model for autism in which many drugs that target eIF4E can be tested," added co-author Davide Ruggero, an associate professor at UCSF's School of Medicine and Department of Urology. "These include novel compounds that we are developing to target eIF4E hyperactivation in cancer that may also be potentially therapeutic for autistic patients."


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Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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