Endogenous Syngap1 alpha splice forms promote cognitive function and seizure protection

Elife. 2022 Apr 8:11:e75707. doi: 10.7554/eLife.75707.


Loss-of-function variants in SYNGAP1 cause a developmental encephalopathy defined by cognitive impairment, autistic features, and epilepsy. SYNGAP1 splicing leads to expression of distinct functional protein isoforms. Splicing imparts multiple cellular functions of SynGAP proteins through coding of distinct C-terminal motifs. However, it remains unknown how these different splice sequences function in vivo to regulate neuronal function and behavior. Reduced expression of SynGAP-α1/2 C-terminal splice variants in mice caused severe phenotypes, including reduced survival, impaired learning, and reduced seizure latency. In contrast, upregulation of α1/2 expression improved learning and increased seizure latency. Mice expressing α1-specific mutations, which disrupted SynGAP cellular functions without altering protein expression, promoted seizure, disrupted synapse plasticity, and impaired learning. These findings demonstrate that endogenous SynGAP isoforms with α1/2 spliced sequences promote cognitive function and impart seizure protection. Regulation of SynGAP-αexpression or function may be a viable therapeutic strategy to broadly improve cognitive function and mitigate seizure.

Keywords: Syngap1; behavior; cognition; isoforms; mouse; neuroscience; seizure; splicing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Seizures* / genetics
  • Synapses / physiology
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins* / genetics
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins* / metabolism


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Syngap1 protein, mouse
  • ras GTPase-Activating Proteins