Yearly Archives: 2016

Loss of Shank gene prevents neuronal synapses from properly maturing. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, May 24, 2016] A new study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that a gene mutation associated with autism plays a critical role in the formation and maturation of synapses — the connections that allow neurons […]

Neuroscientists illuminate role of autism-linked gene

Controlling RNA in living cells Modular, programmable proteins can be used to track or manipulate gene expression. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, April 25, 2016] MIT researchers have devised a new set of proteins that can be customized to bind arbitrary RNA sequences, making it possible to image RNA […]

Controlling RNA in living cells

Broad/MIT scientist among five honored as pioneers of CRISPR-Cas9 system. Source: [The Broad Institute | March 23, 2016] Feng Zhang, a core institute member of the Broad Institute, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and W. M. Keck Career Development Associate Professor in MIT’s Department […]

Feng Zhang receives 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award

Study reveals a basis for attention deficits New findings could help scientists develop treatments for ADHD and other disorders. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, March 23, 2016]   More than 3 million Americans suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that usually emerges in childhood and can […]

Study reveals a basis for attention deficits

Genome-editing pioneer Feng Zhang hopes his work will shed light on neurological disorders. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, March 22, 2016] In 2011, about a month after joining the MIT faculty, Feng Zhang attended a talk by Harvard Medical School Professor Michael Gilmore, who studies the pathogenic bacteriumEnteroccocus. The […]

Toward a better understanding of the brain

Autism and autism spectrum conditions comprise a spectrum, in which most cases cannot be attributed to a single cause. In some cases, however, autism diagnoses have known genetic roots. Mutations in the Shank3 gene, which encodes an important synaptic protein, account for approximately 1% of autism cases. The Simons Center […]

Adult mice recover Shank3-related deficits

Neuroscientists reverse autism symptoms Turning on a gene later in life can restore typical behavior in mice. Source [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, February 17, 2016] Autism has diverse genetic causes, most of which are still unknown. About 1 percent of people with autism are missing a gene called Shank3, […]

Neuroscientists reverse autism symptoms

Human cells integrate and function after injection into fetal mice The invasive study of cellular and molecular pathogenesis in humans is in most cases impossible. Patient-derived and other human cells can, however, be studied intensively in host animals, enabling researchers to observe cell- and organ-specific phenotypes at close range and […]

Mouse-hosted cells for developmental studies

New Approaches Yield Insights into Details of Complex Disorder Most autism spectrum disorders differ from syndromic autisms, in which patient phenotype follows from inheritance of or de novo mutation at a single genetic locus. Occurrence of these non-syndromic autisms has been linked to multiple mutations at different genetic loci, with […]

Novel gene analysis shows promise

Maternal immune activation acts through interleukin-17a to promote ASD-like phenotypes in mice Interleukin-17a (IL-17a) is a protein produced by activated T cells as part of the immune system’s response to infection. It promotes inflammation, and is associated with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Elevated IL-17a levels have been found in autistic […]

A link between immune signaling and ASD

Pinpointing loneliness in the brain Scientists identify cells that represent feelings of isolation. Source [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, February 11, 2016] Humans, like all social animals, have a fundamental need for contact with others. This deeply ingrained instinct helps us to survive; it’s much easier to find food, shelter, […]

Simons Fellow Gillian Matthews has found neurons that motivate increased ...

[Source: Spectrum | Jessica Wright, January 25, 2016]   Two seemingly similar mutations in the SHANK3 gene have divergent effects on the brain and behavior, according to a mouse study published 6 January inNeuron1. The findings may help explain why one mutation is associated with autism, whereas the other has […]

Neighboring mutations in gene may spawn separate conditions

School of Science honors research staff with 2016 Infinite Kilometer Awards [Source: School of Science | January 4, 2016] The MIT School of Science has announced the 2016 winners of the Infinite Kilometer Award. The Infinite Kilometer Award was established in 2012 to highlight and reward the extraordinary, but often under-recognized work […]

Simons Fellow Lindsey Powell wins the 2016 Infinite Kilometer Award