Neural progenitor cells in a culture medium, color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM).
Spectrum Microphone

Autism subgroups converge on cell growth pathway

Faulty mTOR signaling, implicated in syndromic forms of autism, also hinders cells grown from people with idiopathic autism or autism-linked deletions on chromosome 16.

By Angie Voyles Askham
2 April 2024 | 4 min listen

Neurons making memories shush their neighbors

When neurons strengthen their synapses, they “infect” surrounding cells with a virus-like protein to weaken those cells’ excitatory connections, according to a new preprint.

By Holly Barker
22 March 2024 | 5 min read
Research image of microglia in mice.

Microglial overreaction to atypical neurons may drive autism

In mice and organoids lacking a neuronal protein, microglia prune synapses to excess.

By Holly Barker
21 March 2024 | 5 min read
A research image of neuronal dendrites in mice.

Top autism-linked genes join forces to shape synaptic plasticity

The protein products of ANK2 and SCN2A interact to regulate dendritic excitability.

By Holly Barker
29 January 2024 | 5 min read
Research image of mutations in mouse cortical neurons.

Mutations in multipurpose gene deal dendrites a double whammy

The mutations disrupt protein translation as well as the cell’s skeleton, according to a new study.

By Holly Barker
4 October 2023 | 4 min listen
Research image of neurons.

Abundant motor proteins disrupt cries in FOXP2 mice

Knocking down the gene that codes for the proteins normalizes the vocalizations.

By Laura Dattaro, Maaisha Osman
28 July 2023 | 3 min read
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Autism’s ties to the cell skeleton

Many genes related to the condition play a role in the internal scaffolding of cells, and cytoskeletal disruptions can affect neurodevelopment and behavior.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
22 June 2023 | 7 min read
Methods Microphone

Wiring map reveals how larval fruit fly brain converts sensory signals to movement

The map diagrams more than half a million neuronal connections in the first complete connectome of Drosophila and holds clues about which brain architectures best support learning.

By Laura Dattaro
9 March 2023 | 5 min listen
an image of a neuron
Spectrum Microphone

Neurons struggle to spike without fragile X gene

FMR1 loss impairs sodium channels, hindering mouse neurons from generating the electrical signals needed to transmit information.

By Laura Dattaro
17 February 2023 | 3 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Autism-linked mutation disrupts brain circuit to change social behavior

Therapies that target the circuit could boost social activity, new findings suggest.

By Charles Q. Choi
24 June 2022 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read

Widely used calcium imaging protocol can lead to spurious results, new paper cautions

The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch