Role of the cell adhesion molecules neurexin and neuroligin in dendritogenesis

The cell adhesion molecules Neurexin and Neuroligin play important roles in synapse formation and maturation. Mutations in both have been identified in families with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) suggesting a synaptic abnormality contributing to this disorder. By manipulating Neuroexin/Neuroligin function we investigate whether they also play a role in dendrite growth within the developing brain, potentially identifying a neuronal structural abnormality in ASDs.