Snapin: A protein with therapy potential for autism

A new paper from researchers at Rutgers University in NJ explores another approach to medical intervention of autism:

While disorders like autism may arise from a multiplicity of causes, research at the cellular level, such as that of Firestein and her Rutgers team, is creating an important point of entry for early intervention with therapeutic drugs.

Dendrites are the input centers of neurons — where nerve cells receive information that they pass on to another nerve cell or to the brain. When there is an abnormal decrease in dendrite branches, there are fewer sites to receive information and communication may be impeded. Individuals with disorders such as autism and Rett syndrome display not only fewer branches, but also show two quite different dendrite patterns. Firestein’s most recent work explores the how and why of dendrite branching and patterning.

The article will appear in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell and is also available from MBC in Press online in either the Abstract or the Accepted Manuscript.