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Autism Disorders Share Epigenetic Modifications

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a collection of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social interaction, lack of verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism is highly heritable, with environmental risk factors also playing a role in the occurrence of ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are able to accomplish daily activities, whereas others require assistance to perform basic tasks. Males are more likely to develop ASD than females and most symptoms are apparent before age 3. There is no cure for autism. However, with appropriate treatment and education, many children with ASD can develop and learn to help reduce challenges such as disruptive behavior.

Previous ASD studies have focused on structural changes to DNA or the genome but these mutations are rare. However, a recent report highlights that epigenetic modifications that change gene activity, but do not affect the DNA sequence, can play an important role in ASD. Individuals with common and rare types of ASD were identified as sharing a similar set of epigenetic modifications in the brain. More than 68% of individuals with ASD showed evidence of the same pattern of histone acetylation at 5,000 gene loci, despite the wide range of genetic and environmental causes of ASD. An association between ASD and elevated levels of acetylation during synapse formation at age 1 was also reported. Identifying commonly shared molecular features will help in developing new drugs to target ASD.

For more information: http://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31451-9

Enzo Life Sciences provides a wide variety of products for your Neuroscience and Epigenetics research needs. We provide a complete toolbox for Epigenetics research from isolation, modification through to detection. For over a decade, the FLUOR DE LYS® deacetylase assay platform has freed researchers from cumbersome protocols for screening HDAC & Sirtuin activity. Our high-quality chemiluminescent, fluorescent, and colorimetric assays deliver more high-quality hits, and are backed by a broad panel of characterized inhibitors and PTM-specific antibodies for ubiquitinylation, SUMOylation, methylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation.

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