Stem cells

Neural progenitor cells in a culture medium, color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM).
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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
An illustration of a gold circle and wavy blue plants.

Building a brain: How does it generate its exquisite diversity of cells?

High-throughput technologies have revealed new insights into how the brain develops. But a truly comprehensive map of neurodevelopment requires further advances.

By Tomasz Nowakowski, Karthik Shekhar
18 March 2024 | 6 min read
A scientist looks into a microscope

Raising the bar for stem cell research: Q&A with Jack Mosher

New quality benchmarks for basic research involving stem cells promise to improve rigor and reproducibility, says Mosher, who helped develop the standards.

By Lauren Schenkman
10 October 2023 | 7 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
Research image of neurons and astrocytes.

Astrocytes fuel erratic firing in fragile X neurons

A shift in astrocyte secretions may explain the atypical firing patterns of neurons derived from people with fragile X syndrome.

By Lauren Schenkman
10 May 2023 | 5 min read
Adapted research image of immunofluorescence staining of primary cortical neurons showing expression of PTBP proteins and reduced level of the protein SYNGAP1.
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‘Splice-switching’ strategy boosts SYNGAP1 expression

The approach improves the function of SYNGAP1-deficient neurons in vitro, but whether it will work in people remains unclear.

By Angie Voyles Askham
21 March 2023 | 5 min read
Research image comparing neurons that lack the ZFP462 gene to wildtype neurons.

Autism-tied gene ZNF462 keeps developing neurons on track

The gene, linked to a little-known condition called Weiss-Kruszka syndrome, prevents embryonic stem cells from deviating from their neuronal destiny.

By Laura Dattaro
1 February 2023 | 4 min read
Lab images of cilia.
Spectrum Microphone

Autism and the cell’s antennae

Many autism-linked genes are somehow tied to cilia, the tiny hair-like sensors that stud a cell’s surface. But the question remains whether, and how, cilia differences contribute to the condition.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
4 January 2023 | 6 min read
Image displaying impeded interneuron development.
Spectrum Microphone

‘Assembloids’ lay bare autism-linked genes that hamper neuron development

The model enables the study of autism-linked genes at the earliest stages of neural development.

By Isabel Ruehl
30 November 2022 | 4 min read
Image of a synthetic mouse embryo.

Lab-grown ‘embryoids’ offer new window into gene-trait relationships

The developmental models have advantages over natural embryos and other synthetic models, such as organoids, but present technical and ethical challenges.

By Isabel Ruehl
26 October 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