The Autism Related Protein Contactin-Associated Protein-Like 2 (CNTNAP2) Stabilizes New Spines: An In Vivo Mouse Study

PLoS One. 2015 May 7;10(5):e0125633. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125633. eCollection 2015.


The establishment and maintenance of neuronal circuits depends on tight regulation of synaptic contacts. We hypothesized that CNTNAP2, a protein associated with autism, would play a key role in this process. Indeed, we found that new dendritic spines in mice lacking CNTNAP2 were formed at normal rates, but failed to stabilize. Notably, rates of spine elimination were unaltered, suggesting a specific role for CNTNAP2 in stabilizing new synaptic circuitry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Spines / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*


  • CNTNAP2 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins