Autism and Mental Retardation are Associated with Proteins
Autism and mental retardation originate in synapse, the junction between cells which constantly send information from one neurons to another in the nervous system. According to researchers from Tufts University in Boston, APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) protein plays a central role in the process of synapse maturation
“Our research proves that the APC protein makes sure both sides of the synapse have balanced growth so it function optimally,” said a senior medical researcher at Tufts University, Michele H. Jacob, according to Science Daily. His team examined the function of APC and found that the absence of normal APC will make synapses unable to mature, both the structure and function.
Scientists have linked autism with neuroligin and neurexin gene mutation. However, there are only little information about the placement mechanism of this protein in the synapse. “From laboratory studies, we conclude the APC is needed to attract neuroligin and neurexin to the synapse,” said Jacob
This research was published in the August edition of Journal of Neuroscience. Next, researchers will continue to study this to see the impact of removal of APC from the nervous system.