Reversing mutations in top autism-linked gene makes adult mice more social

Reversing mutations in top autism-linked gene makes adult mice more social

Treatments that counteract the effects of a mutation in a top autism-linked gene in mice increase the animals’ sociability in adulthood, according to a new unpublished study. Researchers presented the findings virtually at the 2021 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting . The results are based on mice deficient in SCN2A , a gene that codes for an ion channel protein that ferries electrical signals across the brain. Mutations in the gene are strongly linked to autism and often cause epilepsy . Mice missing both copies of SCN2A typically don’t survive long after birth, whereas those that lack only one copy show few behavioral differences from control mice, according to previous work. So to create a useful model for the new study, researchers used a ‘gene trap,’ a snippet of DNA that alters gene expression. Mice engineered with the gene trap express about 25 percent of typical SCN2A levels. The trap also made it possible for the researchers to later reinstate typical expression levels of the gene in adult mice and alter their behavior. Social alterations : Unlike control mice with two working copies of the gene, the SCN2A model mice preferred to spend time in an empty chamber instead […]

Click here to view original web page at www.spectrumnews.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *