Autism-linked genes shape touch processing through different mechanisms, at different times

Whereas some mice display hypersensitivity to touch only as adults, others respond that way from birth.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
21 March 2024 | 5 min read
Research video of a zebrafish larva (zoomed in on the gut) being given glucose.

On the periphery: Thinking ‘outside the brain’ offers new ideas about autism

Neuronal alterations outside the brain may help to explain a host of the condition’s characteristic traits, including sensory changes, gut problems and motor differences.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
13 April 2023 | 20 min read
Drop of liquid medicine with air bubbles is dripping from a pipette on a light pink background.
Rett syndrome Microphone

FDA approval of trofinetide may spur further drug development for Rett

The drug, welcomed by patients, might be just the first of many.

By Shaena Montanari
16 March 2023 | 7 min listen
Illustration of a gloved hand reaching down to place a pill bottle on a pedestal.

Debut drug for Rett syndrome at edge of approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to make an approval decision on the first-ever drug for girls and women with Rett syndrome by 12 March.

By Shaena Montanari
2 March 2023 | 9 min read
Illustration of a sheet of red and white pills, with the red pills arranged in the form of a question mark.

Going on Trial: Orphan drugs; CBD; bumetanide

This month’s newsletter takes a close look at the orphan drug program in the United States, several cannabis-based therapies and a secondary analysis of bumetanide, among other new developments in autism-related drug trials.

By Peter Hess
28 February 2023 | 7 min read
Research image of cell bodies of rett-like neurons, some of which were treated with epigenome editors.
Spectrum Microphone

Epigenome edits unmute MECP2 in Rett-like neurons

The approach removes methyl tags from the gene and shields it from other silencing factors without changing the gene itself, raising hopes for a new treatment.

By Nora Bradford
16 February 2023 | 5 min read
Set of 6 scans shows mice recovering MECP2 protein in their brainstem after being treated with RNA-editing viruses.
Spectrum Microphone

RNA rewrite improves breathing, survival in Rett mice

The technique involves editing the cellular instructions to make MECP2 protein and partially restores its levels in the brainstem.

By Peter Hess
22 September 2022 | 5 min read

Portrait of a research field: astrocytes in autism

Long cast in supporting roles in the brain, astrocytes are now emerging as primary players in certain characteristics of autism and related conditions.

By Lauren Schenkman
14 July 2022 | 14 min read

Faulty inhibition foils long-term memory in Rett mice

The animals recall fear more readily if a set of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus is switched on.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
11 April 2022 | 5 min read
A family of Macaques aat the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Spectrum Microphone

Macaques’ social skills tied to variation in autism-linked genes

Genetics strongly influences some aspects of the monkey’s social behavior, including tendencies to solicit grooming and sit or play alone.

By Chloe Williams
7 March 2022 | 5 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read
A digitally distorted image of a file folder against a blue gradient background.

Data access changes to UK Biobank stir unease in neuroscientists

“I feel a little bit in limbo,” says neuroscientist Stephanie Noble, who has paused a study using Biobank data after the repository shifted from a data download to a cloud-only access model.

By Calli McMurray
16 July 2024 | 7 min read