A Developmental Switch Exists in the Effects of FMRP

Dr. Kimberly Huber

With a $90,00 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation for 2010-2011, Dr. Kimberly Huber and her team at the University of Texas at Southwestern found that there is a developmental switch of postsynaptic FMRP on synaptic function. This switch is controlled by MEF2 transcriptional activity. Proper synapse maturation and elimination is crucial for the establishment of appropriate neural circuits that underlie sensory processing and cognition. Neuron of Fragile X patients as well as in the mouse model of Fragile X, Fmr1 KO mice, display more dendritic spines, the point of contact for excitatory synapses, as well as long and thin filopodia resembling immature spines. This suggests Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) has a role in promoting synapse maturation and elimination.

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