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J Clin Invest. 2018 Nov 1;128(11):4956-4969. doi: 10.1172/JCI98199. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein deficiency models synaptic and developmental phenotypes of autism-like syndrome.

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The Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors; The Elton Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology; Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Sagol School of Neuroscience and Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Bioinformatics Unit, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
BIOCEV, Institute of Biotechnology CAS, Vestec, Czech Republic.


Previous findings showed that in mice, complete knockout of activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) abolishes brain formation, while haploinsufficiency (Adnp+/-) causes cognitive impairments. We hypothesized that mutations in ADNP lead to a developmental/autistic syndrome in children. Indeed, recent phenotypic characterization of children harboring ADNP mutations (ADNP syndrome children) revealed global developmental delays and intellectual disabilities, including speech and motor dysfunctions. Mechanistically, ADNP includes a SIP motif embedded in the ADNP-derived snippet drug candidate NAP (NAPVSIPQ, also known as CP201), which binds to microtubule end-binding protein 3, essential for dendritic spine formation. Here, we established a unique neuronal membrane-tagged, GFP-expressing Adnp+/- mouse line allowing in vivo synaptic pathology quantification. We discovered that Adnp deficiency reduced dendritic spine density and altered synaptic gene expression, both of which were partly ameliorated by NAP treatment. Adnp+/-mice further exhibited global developmental delays, vocalization impediments, gait and motor dysfunctions, and social and object memory impairments, all of which were partially reversed by daily NAP administration (systemic/nasal). In conclusion, we have connected ADNP-related synaptic pathology to developmental and behavioral outcomes, establishing NAP in vivo target engagement and identifying potential biomarkers. Together, these studies pave a path toward the clinical development of NAP (CP201) for the treatment of ADNP syndrome.


Drug therapy; Therapeutics

[Available on 2019-02-01]
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