Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2018 06 5;84(Pt B):424-439. Epub 2017 Dec 5.
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. Electronic address:
The genomic revolution has begun to unveil the enormous complexity and heterogeneity of the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders such as such epilepsy, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Increasingly, human mutations in synapse genes are being identified across these disorders. These neurodevelopmental synaptopathies highlight synaptic homeostasis pathways as a convergence point underlying disease mechanisms. Here, we review some of the key pre- and postsynaptic genes in which penetrant human mutations have been identified in neurodevelopmental disorders for which genetic rodent models have been generated. Specifically, we focus on the main behavioural phenotypes that have been documented in these animal models, to consolidate our current understanding of how synapse genes regulate key behavioural and cognitive domains. These studies provide insights into better understanding the basis of the overlapping genetic and cognitive heterogeneity observed in neurodevelopmental disorders.