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Substantial progress has been made toward understanding the genetic architecture, cellular substrates, brain circuits and endophenotypic profiles of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Recent evidence implicates spiny synapses as important substrates of pathogenesis in these(More)
Migratory waterfowl of the world are the natural reservoirs of influenza viruses of all known subtypes. However, it is unknown whether these waterfowl perpetuate highly pathogenic (HP) H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses. Here we report influenza virus surveillance from 2001 to 2006 in wild ducks in Alberta, Canada, and in shorebirds and gulls at Delaware Bay(More)
The 5-HT(2A) serotonin receptor is the most abundant serotonin receptor subtype in the cortex and is predominantly expressed in pyramidal neurons. The 5-HT(2A) receptor is a target of several hallucinogens, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and antidepressants, and it has been associated with several psychiatric disorders, conditions that are also associated(More)
Structural plasticity of excitatory synapses is a vital component of neuronal development, synaptic plasticity and behavior, and its malfunction underlies many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms that control dendritic spine morphogenesis have only recently emerged. We summarize recent work that has revealed an(More)
Cortical information storage requires combined changes in connectivity and synaptic strength between neurons, but the signaling mechanisms underlying this two-step wiring plasticity are unknown. Because acute 17beta-estradiol (E2) modulates cortical memory, we examined its effects on spine morphogenesis, AMPA receptor trafficking, and GTPase signaling in(More)
The architecture of dendritic arbors determines circuit connectivity, receptive fields, and computational properties of neurons, and dendritic structure is impaired in several psychiatric disorders. While apical and basal dendritic compartments of pyramidal neurons are functionally specialized and differentially regulated, little is known about mechanisms(More)
Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a secreted trophic factor that activates the postsynaptic erbB4 receptor tyrosine kinase. Both NRG1 and erbB4 have been repeatedly associated with schizophrenia, but their downstream targets are not well characterized. ErbB4 is highly abundant in interneurons, and NRG1-mediated erbB4 activation has been shown to modulate interneuron(More)
Deficits in social and communication behaviors are common features of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the molecular and cellular substrates of these higher order brain functions are not well understood. Here we report that specific alterations in social and communication behaviors in mice occur as a result of loss of the EPAC2 gene, which(More)
BACKGROUND The Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted growth factors are morphogens that act in development to direct growth and patterning. Mutations in human Hh and other Hh pathway components have been linked to human diseases. Analysis of Hh distribution during development indicates that cholesterol modification and receptor mediated endocytosis affect the(More)
Dynamic remodeling of spiny synapses is crucial for cortical circuit development, refinement and plasticity, whereas abnormal morphogenesis is associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. We found that activation of Epac2, a PKA-independent cAMP target and Rap guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), in cultured rat cortical neurons induced spine shrinkage,(More)