The N-terminus of serotonin transporter: a role in regulation
Many studies have suggested a link between autism and the serotonin system. In addition to elevated blood serotonin level in autistic individuals and the association of increased stereotyped behavior with reduction in ventral nervous system serotonin, many affected individuals treated with SSRI (Prozac-related medications) have shown a reduction in aggression and ritualistic behavior. Dr. Rudnick and his postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Sotiria Tavoulari, plan to test the biological properties of specific mutations in the serotonin transporter gene, especially the Gly-56 at the end of the molecule that have been implicated in increased transporter protein function that may result in aggravation of autistic symptoms. What this means for people with autism: Findings from this study could further elucidate the mechanism of serotonin system's association with autism, which could lead to improved psychopharmacological intervention, especially with the many drugs targeting this system already available for other indications.