Memory Study On Mice Offers New Insights Into Understanding Autism, NYU and Baylor Scientists Conclude

Researchers at New York University’s Center for Neural Science and the Baylor College of Medicine have identified a protein that when removed from mice results in behaviors that are akin to those with autism and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Their findings, which appear in the latest issue of the journal Neuron, may enhance our understanding of these and other neurological disorders.

The protein FKBP12, found in both humans and mice, is known to regulate mTOR, an enzyme involved in synaptic plasticity, or the ability of the neurons to change the collective strength of their connections with other neurons. Learning and memory are believed to result from changes in synaptic strength. mTOR also plays a role in behavioral plasticity-the ability to alter behavior in response to environmental changes.

The researchers eliminated FKBP12 from the brains of mice late in development and subsequently examined them for alterations in synaptic plasticity-specifically, in a brain area required for memory-and their behaviors. To test how different ty 500

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