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

Roles of Wnt signaling/scaffolding molecules in autism  

A crucial biochemical pathway involved in neurodevelopment is the Wnt signaling pathway, which can affect both brain size and organization. Misregulation of Wnt signaling is therefore a potential cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and mutations in genes that affect the Wnt pathway might confer a risk of ASD. Recently, a family was discovered in which two children diagnosed with ASD harbored a mutation in the Dact1 gene, which is involved in Wnt signaling. The present study will investigate the effects of Dact1 in brain development, using the mouse as a model system. Mice genetically engineered to lack Dact1 will be used to examine the development of neurons and neuronal connections in the absence of this gene. The study will test the hypothesis that loss of Dact1 causes a decreased number of synapses, or connections between neurons. It will also investigate the consequences of the particular Dact1 mutation found in autistic patients on neuronal development and function. Determining how Dact1 affects neural development may provide an important clue towards understanding the biochemical processes involved in ASDs. Project Status


Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $28,000.00
Current Award Period 2008-2010
Project Number 4654
Principal Investigator Okerlund, Nathan
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Subcategory Molecular Pathways
Strategic Plan Objective 2O. Not specific to Question 2 objectives
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of California, San Francisco
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Roles of Wnt signaling/scaffolding molecules in autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Roles of Wnt signaling/scaffolding molecules in autism | $28,000.00 | 2009 | 4654
Roles of Wnt signaling/scaffolding molecules in autism | $28,000.00 | 2008 | 4654