Are Molecules Involved in Neuritogenesis and Axon Guidance Related to Autism Pathogenesis?
Autism spectrum disorder is a heterogeneous disease, and numerous alterations of gene expression come into play to attempt to explain potential molecular and pathophysiological causes. Abnormalities of brain development and connectivity associated with alterations in cytoskeletal rearrangement, neuritogenesis and elongation of axons and dendrites might represent or contribute to the structural basis of autism pathology. Slit/Robo signaling regulates cytoskeletal remodeling related to axonal and dendritic branching. Components of its signaling pathway (ABL and Cdc42) are suspected to be molecular bases of alterations of normal development. The present review describes the most important mechanisms underlying neuritogenesis, axon pathfinding and the role of GTPases in neurite outgrowth, with special emphasis on alterations associated with autism spectrum disorders. On the basis of analysis of publicly available microarray data, potential biomarkers of autism are discussed.
KeywordsAutism Neurites Brain development Biomarkers Cytoskeletal remodeling
The work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency projects APVV-0253-10 and APVV-0254-11.
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