Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Research shows gene defect's role in autism-like behavior

August 13, 2012
Scientists affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have discovered how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism. The research offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.

Earlier research already has shown that the gene is defective in children with autism, but its effect on neurons in the brain was not known. The new studies in mice show that abnormal action of just this one gene disrupted energy use in neurons. The harmful changes were coupled with antisocial and prolonged repetitive behavior -- traits found in autism.

The research is published online today in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

"A number of genes and environmental factors have been shown to be involved in autism, but this study points to a mechanism -- how one gene defect may trigger this type of neurological behavior," said study senior author Cecilia Giulivi, professor of molecular biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a researcher affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

"Once you understand the mechanism, that opens the way for developing drugs to treat the condition," she said.

The defective gene appears to disrupt neurons' use of energy, Giulivi said, the critical process that relies on the cell's molecular energy factories called mitochondria.

In the research, a gene called pten was tweaked in the mice so that neurons lacked the normal amount of pten's protein. The scientists detected malfunctioning mitochondria in the mice as early as 4 to 6 weeks after birth.

By 20 to 29 weeks, DNA damage in the mitochondria and disruption of their function had increased dramatically. At this time the mice began to avoid contact with their litter mates and engage in repetitive grooming behavior. Mice without the single gene change exhibited neither the mitochondria malfunctions nor the behavioral problems.

The antisocial behavior was most pronounced in the mice at an age comparable in humans to the early teenage years, when schizophrenia and other behavioral disorders become most apparent, Giulivi said.

The research showed that, when defective, pten's protein interacts with the protein of a second gene known as p53 to dampen energy production in neurons. This severe stress leads to a spike in harmful mitochondrial DNA changes and abnormal levels of energy production in the cerebellum and hippocampus -- brain regions critical for social behavior and cognition.

Pten mutations previously have been linked to Alzheimer's disease as well as a spectrum of autism disorders. The new research shows that when pten protein was insufficient, its interaction with p53 triggered deficiencies and defects in other proteins that also have been found in patients with learning disabilities including autism.

University of California - Davis Health System


Related Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles


Motor coordination issues in autism are caused by abnormal neural connections
Abnormal connections between neurons are the likely cause of motor coordination issues seen in autism spectrum disorder. Using a mouse model of autism, scientists from the University of Chicago identified a malfunctioning neural circuit associated with reduced capacity for motor learning.

Serotonin's early role in the assembly of brain circuits
A lot of research has shown that poor regulation of the serotonin system, caused by certain genetic variations, can increase the risk of developing psychiatric illnesses such as autism, depression, or anxiety disorders.

New insights that link Fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorders
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability (ID), as well as the most frequent monogenic cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

How does the brain develop in individuals with autism?
Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital's Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans and affects brain development and behavior.

The backwards brain? Study shows how brain maps develop to help us perceive the world
Driving to work becomes routine--but could you drive the entire way in reverse gear? Humans, like many animals, are accustomed to seeing objects pass behind us as we go forward. Moving backwards feels unnatural.

UC Davis investigational medication used to resolve life-threatening seizures in children
In its first clinical application in pediatric patients, an investigational medication developed and manufactured at UC Davis has been found to effectively treat children with life-threatening and difficult-to-control epileptic seizures without side effects, according to a research report by scientists at UC Davis and Northwestern University.

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism
With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Psychotropic drug prescriptions: Therapeutic advances or fads?
Why are psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, psychostimulants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics are increasingly prescribed in North America?

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism
With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Some neurons can multitask, raising questions about the importance of specialization
Think about all the things you are doing at this moment. As your eyes scan across the lines of this article, maybe your brain is processing the smell of coffee brewing down the hall and the sound of leaf blowers outside your window.
More Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition
by Ellen Notbohm (Author), Veronica Zysk (Editor)


A bestseller gets even better!  Every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician should have this succinct and informative book in their back pocket. Framed with both humor and compassion, the book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate—not define—children with autism.
Ellen’s personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD, a celebrated autism author, and a contributor to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites around the world coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a child on the autism spectrum. This updated edition delves into expanded thought and deeper discussion of communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical roles adult perspectives play in guiding the child with...

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
by Naoki Higashida (Author), KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)


“One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg Businessweek • Bookish

FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break...

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism
by Chantal Sicile-Kira (Author)


Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today

Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:

• The causes of autism spectrum disorders
• Getting an accurate diagnosis
• Treatments based on behavioral, psychological, and biomedical interventions
• Coping strategies for families and education needs and programs
• Living and working conditions for adults with ASD
• Community interaction and...

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World
by Raun K. Kaufman (Author)


As a boy, Raun Kaufman was diagnosed by multiple experts as severely autistic, with an IQ below 30, and destined to spend his life in an institution. Years later, Raun graduated with a degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and has become a passionate and articulate autism expert and educator with no trace of his former condition. So what happened?

Thanks to The Son-Rise Program, a revolutionary method created by his parents, Raun experienced a full recovery from autism. (His story was recounted in the best-selling book Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues and in the award-winning NBC television movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love.) In Autism Breakthrough, Raun presents the ground-breaking principles behind the program that helped him and thousands of other families with...

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition
by Veronica Zysk (Author), Ellen Notbohm (Author)


Winner of  a Silver medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards and Learning Magazine's Teachers Choice Award, 1001 Great Ideas has been a treasured resource in the autism community since 2004. In this expanded second edition, Ellen Notbohm (best-selling author of the revolutionary book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew) and Veronica Zysk (award-winning author and former editor of Autism Asperger's Digest magazine) present parents and educators with over 1800 ideas try-it-now tips, eye-opening advice, and grassroots strategies. More than 600 fresh ideas join tried and true tactics from the original edition, offering modifications for older kids, honing in on Asperger's challenges, and enhancing already-effective ways to help your child or student achieve success at...

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed
by Temple Grandin (Author), Richard Panek (Author)


“The right brain has created the right book for right now.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Temple Grandin may be the most famous person with autism, a condition that affects 1 in 88 children. Since her birth in 1947, our understanding of it has undergone a great transformation, leading to more hope than ever before that we may finally learn the causes of and treatments for autism.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the advances in neuroimaging and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show which anomalies might explain common symptoms. Most excitingly, she argues that raising and educating kids on the autism spectrum must focus on their long-overlooked strengths to...

Life Through His Eyes

Life Through His Eyes
by Virginia R. Victorio


Life is not always what we want it to be. Mauricio is struggling with a life he didn't choose for himself and is about to learn an amazing lesson from the person he loves the most - Short Story

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Aspergerâs and Sensory Processing Disorders

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders
by Tara Delaney (Author)


LEARNING THROUGH PLAY One of the best ways for children with autism, Asperger's, and sensory processing disorders to learn is through play. Children improve their motor skills, language skills, and social skills by moving their bodies and interacting with their environment. Yet the biggest challenges parents, teachers, and loved ones face with children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders is how to successfully engage them in play. Pediatric occupational therapist Tara Delaney provides the answer. In 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders, she shows you how to teach your children by moving their bodies through play. These interactive games are quick to learn but will provide hours of fun and learning for your...

The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome and their Peers

The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome and their Peers
by Carol Gray (Author), Tony Attwood (Foreword)


Social Stories provide REAL social understanding! Carol Gray developed the Social Story in 1991 to promote social understanding in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now, nearly twenty years after their inception, Social Stories have become a standard approach for teachers and parents all over the globe, and the stories are more effective than ever!
Winner of an Outstanding Literary Work of the Year Award by the Autism Society of America, this 10th Anniversary Edition of The New Social Story Book offers over 150 of the most requested Social Stories, each one professionally written by Carol Gray. But it doesn t end there Carol also teaches you how to write Social Stories yourself! Years of experience and trial-and-error have led to updated Story guidelines. Carol explains...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com