HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Columbia researcher identifies cellular defect that may contribute to autism

NEW YORK, NY, January 27 The causes of autism have long remained a mystery, but new research from Columbia University Medical Center has identified, for the first time, how a cellular defect may be involved in the often crippling neurological disorder.

The research, which is published in today's issue of Science, examines how a defect in neuroligin genes may contribute to autism. Neuroligins are components of synapses, which connect individual neurons in the brain. The researchers found that the loss of neuroligins perturbs the formation of neuronal connections and results in an imbalance of neuronal function. This imbalance provides an explanation for the neurodevelopmental defects in autistic children.

"Understanding the cellular defects that may underlie autism-spectrum disorders represents an important step towards the goal of providing therapies," said Peter Scheiffele, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, and principal investigator on the study.

A defect in the neuroligin genes had previously been observed in autistic patients, but its functional significance was not yet understood. Scheiffele's study showed that in rat neurons without any neuroligin, connections between neurons are altered in a way that is strikingly similar to those found in autistic children.

Each neuron in the brain receives many different inputs some are excitatory and signal the neuron to fire, and some are inhibitory and signal the neuron to stop firing. Scheiffele's research team found that neuroligin genes are responsible for regulating the balance between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic function. A defect in neuroligin leads to a selective loss in inhibitory function and thereby impairs the fine-tuning of neuronal connectivity, a neurological problem that is understood to play a role in autism.

"There is much we still don't know about how neurons con
'"/>

Contact: Craig LeMoult
cel2113@columbia.edu
212-305-0820
Columbia University Medical Center
27-Jan-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Columbia University Medical Center awarded $3 million to drive Alzheimers genetics research
2. Columbia scientists determine 3-dimensional structure of cells fuel gauge
3. Columbia University licenses next-generation DNA sequencing technology
4. New bird discovered on unexplored Columbian mountain
5. Columbia University Medical Center receives major new NIH Clinical Science investment funds
6. Columbia University awards 2006 Horwitz Prize to biologist who explained gene transcription
7. Columbia University receives $16.9 million NIEHS award to study arsenic in ground water
8. Contaminants linked to sturgeon decline in Columbia river
9. Columbia University Medical Center researchers discover potential mechanism for tumor growth
10. UF, Columbia scientists closer to new cancer detection method
11. Columbia University awards 2005 Horwitz Prize to Israeli structural biologist

Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/18/2014)... a sample of patients with undiagnosed, suspected genetic conditions, ... with a higher molecular diagnostic yield than traditional molecular ... JAMA . The study is being released to coincide ... , Exome sequencing, which sequences the protein­coding region of ... material present in a cell or organism), has been ...
(Date:10/16/2014)... wages war on the human body. Battles are ... In pancreatic cancer, this stalemate—known as tumor dormancy—can ... malignant, a phenomena that is poorly understood. ... laboratory of Salvatore Torquato, a Professor of Chemistry ... surrounding tumor dormancy and the switch to a ...
(Date:10/16/2014)... respiratory tract infections and worldwide claims the lives ... and Ghent University have succeeded in developing a ... infection. , Xavier Saelens (VIB/UGent): "We discovered ... for the development of a novel approach to ... in numerous small children and elderly people." , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Study examines type of exome sequencing and molecular diagnostic yield 2Study examines type of exome sequencing and molecular diagnostic yield 3Modeling tumor dormancy 2New perspectives for development of an RSV vaccine 2
(Date:10/20/2014)... OncLive® is pleased ... at Thomas Jefferson University has joined its Strategic ... Alliance Partnership program, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center ... awareness of the Center’s cutting-edge research programs, comprehensive ... and other health care professionals from the Sidney ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... 20, 2014 Local veterinary surgeon, Dr. ... investigational study of donor stem cells for dogs with ... therapy and has performed clinical stem cell therapy for ... to determine if a single injection of donor stem ... help reduce pain and inflammation in the treated joints. ...
(Date:10/19/2014)... OCTOBER 20-22, 2014: The 9th ... will take place at the Congress Center ... is now available at http://www.abim.ch . ... organizations from all over the globe will ... latest products and developments on the world ...
(Date:10/19/2014)... 2014 The Asia-Pacific Bromine Market ... Asia-Pacific with analysis and forecast of revenue. , ... Bromine Market report, to get an idea of ... glimpse of the segmentation in the Asia-Pacific bromine ... figures. , http://www.micromarketmonitor.com/market/asia-pacific-bromine-6741503144.html , Bromine ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Partners With OncLive 2Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Partners With OncLive 3Cascade Veterinary Referral Center Seeks Candidates for an Investigational Study of Stem Cells for Dogs with Arthritis 2The Asia-Pacific Bromine Market is estimated to grow to $4,080.1 million by 2018 - New Report by MicroMarket Monitor 2The Asia-Pacific Bromine Market is estimated to grow to $4,080.1 million by 2018 - New Report by MicroMarket Monitor 3
Cached News: