SYNGAP1 is a gene that encodes the cytosolic protein SYNGAP1 (SYNaptic GTPase Activating Protein), an essential component of the postsynaptic density at excitatory glutamatergic neurons. SYNGAP1 plays critical roles in synaptic development, structure, function, and plasticity. Mutations in SYNGAP1 result in a neurodevelopmental disorder termed Mental retardation-type 5 (MRD5, OMIM #612621) with a phenotype consisting of intellectual disability, motor impairments, and epilepsy, attesting to the importance of this protein for normal brain development. Here we review the clinical and pathophysiological aspects of SYNGAP1 mutations with a focus on their effect on synaptogenesis, neural circuit function, and cellular plasticity. We conclude by comparing the molecular pathogenesis of SYNGAP1 mutations with those of another neurodevelopmental disorder that affects dendritic function and cellular plasticity, fragile X syndrome. Insights into the molecular similarities and differences underlying these disorders could lead to rationale therapy development.
Keywords: Epilepsy; Fragile X syndrome; Intellectual disability; Plasticity; SYNGAP1; Synapse.
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