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

Function and dysfunction of neuroligins  

Dr. Sudhof and his colleagues plan to study how proteins called neuroligins regulate neuronal signaling in order to understand their role in those behavioral pathways and in autism. Neuroligins play a key role in maintaining the balance of excitatory and inhibitory signals in the brain so that information is transmitted properly between the neurons of a pathway. The abnormal patterns of brain activity in autism suggest that many neurons are not sending robust signals across the synapse, and several neuroligin genes have been implicated in the disorder through genetic studies. The researchers plan to make mutations in all neuroligin genes in mice, and determine whether the mutations affect the balance of signals in neural communication networks. Based on their observations, they hope to deduce the role of excitatory and inhibitory signals in the neurological pathways for social interactions and repetitive behavior. They also plan to uncover the cellular mechanism of neuroligins in synaptic activity to understand how autism-associated mutations disrupt the activity. Through these experiments, Sudhof and colleagues aim to uncover the role of neuroligins in establishing and maintaining the signaling steps necessary to process information in the brain. Project Status


Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $498,884.68
Project Number SFARI-07-41
Principal Investigator Sudhof, Thomas
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 Stanford University
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Function and dysfunction of neuroligins (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Function and dysfunction of neuroligins | $374,382.79 | 2010 | SFARI-07-41
Function and dysfunction of neuroligins | $498,665.39 | 2008 | Project number unavailable
Function and dysfunction of neuroligins in synaptic circuits | $150,000.00 | 2010 | 177850