Open Close
Dong, T., He, J., Wang, S., Wang, L., Cheng, Y., Zhong, Y. (2016). Inability to activate Rac1-dependent forgetting contributes to behavioral inflexibility in mutants of multiple autism-risk genes.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 113(27): 7644--7649.
FlyBase ID
Publication Type
Research paper

The etiology of autism is so complicated because it involves the effects of variants of several hundred risk genes along with the contribution of environmental factors. Therefore, it has been challenging to identify the causal paths that lead to the core autistic symptoms such as social deficit, repetitive behaviors, and behavioral inflexibility. As an alternative approach, extensive efforts have been devoted to identifying the convergence of the targets and functions of the autism-risk genes to facilitate mapping out causal paths. In this study, we used a reversal-learning task to measure behavioral flexibility in Drosophila and determined the effects of loss-of-function mutations in multiple autism-risk gene homologs in flies. Mutations of five autism-risk genes with diversified molecular functions all led to a similar phenotype of behavioral inflexibility indicated by impaired reversal-learning. These reversal-learning defects resulted from the inability to forget or rather, specifically, to activate Rac1 (Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1)-dependent forgetting. Thus, behavior-evoked activation of Rac1-dependent forgetting has a converging function for autism-risk genes.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC4941477 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Associated Information
Associated Files
Other Information
Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Publication Year
    Data From Reference