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Rabaneda L.G.,University of Seville | Robles-Lanuza E.,University of Seville | Nieto-Gonzalez J.,University of Seville | Nieto-Gonzalez J.,Campus del Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio | Scholl F.G.,University of Seville
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) comprise a group of clinical phenotypes characterized by repetitive behavior and social and communication deficits. Autism is generally viewed as a neurodevelopmental disorder where insults during embryonic or early postnatal periods result in aberrant wiring and function of neuronal circuits. Neurexins are synaptic proteins associated with autism. Here, we generated transgenic βNrx1δC mice in which neurexin function is selectively impaired during late postnatal stages. Whole-cell recordings in cortical neurons show an impairment of glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the βNrx1δC mice. Importantly, mutant mice exhibit autism-related symptoms, such as increased self-grooming, deficits in social interactions, and altered interaction for nonsocial olfactory cues. The autistic-like phenotype of βNrx1δC mice can be reversed after removing the mutant protein in aged animals. The defects resulting from disruption of neurexin function after the completion of embryonic and early postnatal development suggest that functional impairment of mature circuits can trigger autism-related phenotypes. © 2014 The Authors.

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