Send to

Choose Destination
Yale J Biol Med. 2012 Dec;85(4):481-90. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

A common STEP in the synaptic pathology of diverse neuropsychiatric disorders.

Author information

Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Synaptic function is critical for proper cognition, and synaptopathologies have been implicated in diverse neuropsychiatric disorders. STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) is a brain-enriched tyrosine phosphatase that normally opposes synaptic strengthening by dephosphorylating key neuronal signaling molecules. STEP targets include N-methyl D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs), as well as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and the tyrosine kinase Fyn. STEP-mediated dephosphorylation promotes the internalization of NMDARs and AMPARs and the inactivation of ERK and Fyn.Regulation of STEP is complex, and recent work has implicated STEP dysregulation in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders. Both high levels and low levels of STEP are found in a diverse group of illnesses. This review focuses on the role of STEP in three disorders in which STEP levels are elevated: Alzheimer's disease, fragile X syndrome, and schizophrenia. The presence of elevated STEP in all three of these disorders raises the intriguing possibility that cognitive deficits resulting from diverse etiologies may share a common molecular pathway.


Alzheimer’s disease; NMDAR trafficking; STEP; fragile X syndrome; neuropsychiatric disorders; schizophrenia; synaptic plasticity; translational neuroscience

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center