Author(s): Tavazoie SF, Alvarez VA, Ridenour DA, Kwiatkowski DJ, Sabatini BL
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Abstract Mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 tumor suppressor genes lead to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a dominant hamartomatous disorder that often presents with mental retardation, epilepsy and autism. The etiology of these neurological symptoms is unclear and the function of the TSC pathway in neurons is unknown. We found that in post-mitotic, hippocampal pyramidal neurons of mice and rats, loss of Tsc1 or Tsc2 triggered enlargement of somas and dendritic spines and altered the properties of glutamatergic synapses. Furthermore, loss of a single copy of the Tsc1 gene was sufficient to perturb dendritic spine structure. Morphological changes required regulation of the actin-depolymerization factor cofilin at a conserved LIM-kinase phosphorylation site, the phosphorylation of which was increased by loss of Tsc2. Thus, the TSC pathway regulates growth and synapse function in neurons, and perturbations of neuronal structure and function are likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of the neurological symptoms of TSC.
This article was published in Nat Neurosci
and referenced in Autism-Open Access