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Drug alleviates autism-associated behavior in mice
The behavioral disorders observed in autism are associated with a multitude of genetic alterations. Scientists have now found another molecular cause for this condition. The transcription factor MYT1L normally protects the molecular identity of nerve cells. If it is genetically switched off in human nerve cells or in mice, the functional changes and symptoms typical of autism occur. A drug that blocks sodium channels in the cell membrane can reverse the consequences of MYT1L failure and alleviate the functional and behavioral abnormalities in mice.