Behavioral training rescues motor deficits in Cyfip1 haploinsufficiency mouse model of autism spectrum disorders

Sven O Bachmann, Monika Sledziowska, Ellen Cross, Shireene Kalbassi, Sophie Waldron, Fangli Chen, Adam Ranson, Stéphane J Baudouin

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Deletions in the 15q11.2 region of the human genome are associated with neurobehavioral deficits, and motor development delay, as well as in some cases, symptoms of autism or schizophrenia. The cytoplasmic FMRP-interacting protein 1 (CYFIP1) is one of the four genes contained within this locus and has been associated with other genetic forms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In mice, Cyfip1 haploinsufficiency leads to alteration of dendritic spine morphology and defects in synaptic plasticity, two pathophysiological hallmarks of mouse models of ASD. At the behavioral level, however, Cyfip1 haploinsufficiency leads to minor phenotypes, not directly relevant for 15q11.2 deletion syndrome or ASD. A fundamental question is whether neuronal phenotypes caused by the mutation of Cyfip1 are relevant for the human condition. Here, we describe a synaptic cluster of ASD-associated proteins centered on CYFIP1 and the adhesion protein Neuroligin-3. Cyfip1 haploinsufficiency in mice led to decreased dendritic spine density and stability associated with social behavior and motor learning phenotypes. Behavioral training early in development resulted in alleviating the motor learning deficits caused by Cyfip1 haploinsufficiency. Altogether, these data provide new insight into the neuronal and behavioral phenotypes caused by Cyfip1 mutation and proof-of-concept for the development of a behavioral therapy to treat phenotypes associated with 15q11.2 syndromes and ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019


  • Animals
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal/metabolism
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15/genetics
  • Dendritic Spines/metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Haploinsufficiency/genetics
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability/genetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Behavior


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