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Autism-linked protein for sculpting brain connections pinpointed by study

Shortly after birth, human brains expand rapidly with the experience of an entirely new world. During this period, neurons in the newborn brain compete with one another to form lasting connections, called synapses.

Non-neuronal cells called astrocytes (red) churn out hevin (green), a protein crucial for the refinement of neuronal connections in the developing brain.
Non-neuronal cells called astrocytes (red) churn out hevin (green), a protein crucial for the refinement of neuronal connections in the developing brain.
Credit:Eroglu lab, , eLife 2014;10.7554/eLife.04047


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Other authors include , , Osman Calhan, , Akiyoshi Uezu, and of Duke’s Cell Biology Department; Srishti Bhagat and Nicole Calakos of Duke Neurology Department; Louis-Jan Pilaz and Debra Silver of Duke’s Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department; and Daniel Wilton and Beth Stevens of Boston Children’s Hospital, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01 DA031833, 2T32NS51156-6, NRSA 1F32NS08328 01A1, NS059957, MH103374, NS083897, NS071008), the Holland-Trice Fellowship, the Wakeman Fellowship, the Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

CITATION: “Astrocytes refine cortical connectivity at dendritic spines,” W. Christopher Risher, Sagar Patel, Il Hwan Kim, Akiyoshi Uezu, Srishti Bhagat, Daniel K. Wilton, Louis-Jan Pilaz, Jonnathan Singh Alvarado, Osman Y. Calhan, Debra L. Silver, Beth Stevens, Nicole Calakos, Scott Soderling, and Cagla Eroglu. eLife, December 17, 2014. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.04047

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