Congratulations to postdoc Alexandros Kanellopoulos, who has been awarded a prestigious Autism Speaks Meixner Translational Postdoctoral Fellowship. Alex is using drosophilia as a model system to study CYFIP function, and in his fellowship he will study how reduced CYFIP levels in different neuronal populations affects behavior. Additionally he will also look into ameliorating phenotypes seen in the drosophilia model of CYFIP reduction. More information can be found here on the Autism Speaks website, and media coverage on the VIB website here.
We have a new paper out in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, on “Autism Spectrum Disorders: Translating human deficits into mouse behavior”, taking a closer look at at how the typical behaviors seen in human autism spectrum disorders can be modelled in mice. And an added bonus – we got the cover!
Amyloid precursor protein (APP) was known to be an mRNA targeted by FMRP for translation regulation, but in this new study, lead by Dr Emanuela Pasciuto, we identified a molecular mechanism that leads to increased levels and maturation of the soluble APPα in the FXS mouse model. A lack of FMRP in early development leads to excessive production of APP and its regulating secretase, ADAM10, affecting neuronal development and behavior. This indicates an important role for the non-amyloidogenic pathway of APP processing in pathological processes.The paper was published in Neuron (see here for Pubmed link). Also see here for coverage on the VIB website and here for a great write up in the AlzForum.