Mar 27, 2020

Resolving the Synaptic versus Developmental Dichotomy of Autism Risk Genes

Trends in Neurosciences
Whitney E Heavner, Stephen E P Smith


Genes that are mutated in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can be classified broadly as either synaptic or developmental. But what if this is a false distinction? A recent spate of publications has provided evidence for developmental mechanisms that rely on neural activity for proper cortical development. Conversely, a growing body of evidence indicates a role for developmental mechanisms, particularly chromatin remodeling, during learning or in response to neural activity. Here, we review these recent publications and propose a model in which genes that confer ASD risk operate in signal transduction networks critical for both cortical development and synaptic homeostasis.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Signal Transduction
Cellular Homeostasis
Chromatin Remodeling
Cerebral Cortex

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