From the Genetic Architecture to Synaptic Plasticity in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015 Sep;16(9):551-63. doi: 10.1038/nrn3992.

Abstract

Genetics studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have identified several risk genes that are key regulators of synaptic plasticity. Indeed, many of the risk genes that have been linked to these disorders encode synaptic scaffolding proteins, receptors, cell adhesion molecules or proteins that are involved in chromatin remodelling, transcription, protein synthesis or degradation, or actin cytoskeleton dynamics. Changes in any of these proteins can increase or decrease synaptic strength or number and, ultimately, neuronal connectivity in the brain. In addition, when deleterious mutations occur, inefficient genetic buffering and impaired synaptic homeostasis may increase an individual's risk for ASD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / diagnosis
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / genetics*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Synapses / genetics*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synapses / pathology