RNA discovery offers clue in autism puzzle
The discovery, detailed in the April 4 edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine, may allow researchers to study the causes of autism and develop new treatments for the disorder more effectively.
“Our study shows that a highly-significant genetic signal for autism pointed to a new gene, MSNP1AS,” says Daniel B. Campbell, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at University of Southern California‘s Keck School of Medicine.
MSNP1AS is a non-coding RNA, which means it does not code for a protein. More than half of the RNAs made in the human brain are non-coding, but their functions are often unknown. We found that expression of MSNP1AS is increased 12-fold in the brains of people with autism and discovered that it controls expression of a protein called moesin, which influences brain development and immune response