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Neuroligins in neurodevelopmental conditions: how mouse models of de novo mutations can help us link synaptic function to social behavior

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Item Type:Article
Title:Neuroligins in neurodevelopmental conditions: how mouse models of de novo mutations can help us link synaptic function to social behavior
Creators Name:Pohl, T. and Hörnberg, H.
Abstract:Neurodevelopmental conditions (or neurodevelopmental disorders, NDDs) are highly heterogeneous with overlapping characteristics and shared genetic etiology. The large symptom variability and etiological heterogeneity have made it challenging to understand the biological mechanisms underpinning NDDs. To accommodate this individual variability, one approach is to move away from diagnostic criteria and focus on distinct dimensions with relevance to multiple NDDs. This domain approach is well suited to preclinical research, where genetically modified animal models can be used to link genetic variability to neurobiological mechanisms and behavioral traits. Genetic factors associated with NDDs can be grouped functionally into common biological pathways, with one prominent functional group being genes associated with the synapse. These include the neuroligins, a family of postsynaptic transmembrane proteins that are key modulators of synaptic function. Here, we review how research using neuroligin mouse models has provided insight into how synaptic proteins contribute to behavioral traits associated with NDDs. We focus on how mutations in different neuroligins affect social behaviors, as differences in social interaction and communication are a common feature of most NDDs. Importantly, mice carrying distinct mutations in neuroligins share some neurobiological and behavioral phenotypes with other synaptic gene mutations. Comparing the functional implications of mutations in multiple synaptic proteins is a first step toward identifying convergent neurobiological pathways in multiple brain regions and circuits.
Keywords:Neuroligins, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Social Behavior, Autism, Synapse, Animals, Mice
Source:Neuronal Signaling
Publisher:Portland Press
Page Range:NS20210030
Date:June 2022
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1042/ns20210030
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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