Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Mice lacking Shank postsynaptic scaffolds as an animal model of autism  

Mutations in one Shank protein, Shank 3, have been found in familial cases of autism. The researchers plan to study mice that lack Shank 1 or Shank 3 to better understand the role of this protein family in neurological function. The researchers will examine whether the loss of Shank 1 or Shank 3 disturbs dendritic spine and synapse formation in adult mice, which would indicate a life-long role for the proteins in learning and memory. Because of the Shank proteins' role in interpreting excitatory signals, the researchers also plan to investigate the balance of inhibitory and excitatory signals in Shank 1- and Shank 3-deficient brains. This balance is precisely tuned to transmit information between different regions of the brain; disruptions in the balance could account for the abnormal processing of information seen in people with autism. Sheng and colleagues plan to look for accompanying changes in the social interactions of the Shank 1- and Shank 3- deficient mice, which might indicate an autism-like impairment in their behavior. Ultimately, Sheng and colleagues hope that these studies also demonstrate whether the removal of these proteins creates a representative animal model of autism for future studies of mechanism and therapy. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $253,848.00
Project Number 94539
Principal Investigator Sheng, Morgan
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Interventions)
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4SB. Standardize and validate at least 20 model systems (e.g., cellular and/or animal) that replicate features of ASD and will allow identification of specific molecular targets or neural circuits amenable to existing or new interventions by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $75,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Mice lacking Shank postsynaptic scaffolds as an animal model of autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Mice lacking Shank postsynaptic scaffolds as an animal model of autism | $128,445.00 | 2010 | 94539
Mice lacking Shank postsynaptic scaffolds as an animal model of autism | $250,806.00 | 2008 | Project number unavailable