Developmentally regulated Ca2+-dependent activator protein for secretion 2 (CAPS2) is involved in BDNF secretion and is associated with autism susceptibility

Cerebellum. 2009 Sep;8(3):312-22. doi: 10.1007/s12311-009-0097-5. Epub 2009 Feb 24.


The postnatal development of the cerebellum is accomplished via a series of cytogenetic and morphogenetic events encoded in the genome. To decipher the underlying genetic basis of these events we have systematized the spatio-temporal gene expression profiles during mouse cerebellar development in the Cerebellar Development Transcriptome Database (CDT-DB). Using the CDT-DB, Ca(2+)-dependent activator protein for secretion 2 (CAPS2 or CADPS2) was identified as a developmentally regulated gene that is predominantly expressed in cerebellar granule cells (GCs) with an expression peak around the first or second postnatal week. CAPS2 protein is concentrated in parallel fiber (PF) terminals and is associated with secretory vesicles containing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3). CAPS2 enhances release of BDNF and NT-3, both of which are essential for normal cerebellar development. CAPS2-deficient (CAPS2(-/-)) mice show reduced secretion of BDNF and NT-3; consequently, the cerebella of these mice exhibit developmental deficits, such as delayed development and increased cell death in GCs, fewer branched dendrites on Purkinje cells (PCs), and loss of the intercrural fissure. The PF-PC synapses have aberrant cytoarchitectures and electrophysiological properties. These abnormal cellular and morphological phenotypes are more severe around the cerebellar vermis, in which hypoplasia has been reported in autism patients. Moreover, CAPS2(-/-) mice had fewer cortical and hippocampal parvalbumin-positive interneurons and some autistic-like behavioral phenotypes. In the CAPS2 genes of some autistic patients an aberrant splicing variant and non-synonymous SNPs have been identified. These recent studies implicate CAPS2 in autism susceptibility. Therefore, CAPS2(-/-) mice will be a useful model animal in which to study aspects of the neuropathology and behaviors characteristic of developmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder* / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder* / metabolism
  • Autistic Disorder* / pathology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / deficiency
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum* / growth & development
  • Cerebellum* / metabolism
  • Cerebellum* / pathology
  • Eliminative Behavior, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / deficiency
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • CADPS2 protein, human
  • CAPS2 protein, mouse
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins