Magazine article USA TODAY

Behavior Linked to Protein Synthesis

Magazine article USA TODAY

Behavior Linked to Protein Synthesis

Article excerpt

Autistic-like behaviors can be remedied partially by normalizing excessive levels of protein synthesis in the brain, a team of researchers has found in a study published in Nature. The findings provide a pathway to the creation of pharmaceuticals aimed at treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that are associated with diminished social interaction skills, impaired communication ability, and repetitive behaviors.

"The creation of a drug to address ASD will be difficult, but these findings offer a potential route to get there," says Eric Klann, professor of neural science at New York University and the study's senior author. "We have not only confirmed a common link for several such disorders, but have raised the exciting possibility that the behavioral afflictions of those individuals with ASD can be addressed."

The researchers focused on the EIF4E gone; its mutation is associated with autism. The mutation causing autism was proposed to increase levels of the elF4E, the protein product of EIF4E, and lead to exaggerated protein synthesis. …

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