Keeping synaptic plasticity plastic

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Sci. Signal.  28 Jul 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 387, pp. ec208
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad0888

Neuronal synapses in the brain adjust according to shifting demands as we experience the world. This synaptic plasticity forms the basis for critical periods in the visual and somatosensory systems. Greenhill et al. have now found, in mice, a critical period for the development of plasticity itself. At the core is a protein that in its mutant form is associated with schizophrenia. Disrupting this protein's function temporarily during early development caused a failure in brain plasticity in adult mice.

S. D. Greenhill, K. Juczewski, A. M. de Haan, G. Seaton, K. Fox, N. R. Hardingham, Adult cortical plasticity depends on an early postnatal critical period. Science 349, 424–427 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]