Building Vocalization

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Science  22 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6161, pp. 908
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6161.908-e

The transcription factor FoxP2 (forkhead box P2) affects language acquisition in humans and regulates the protein SRPX2 (sushi repeat-containing protein X-linked 2), which itself also affects language. Sia et al. (p. 987, published online 31 October; see the Perspective by Lieberman) found that in the mouse brain, the FoxP2 transcription factor binds to the SRPX2 gene. In tissue culture experiments, FoxP2, but not SRPX2, affected dendritic morphology, while both FoxP2 and SRPX2 affected the formation of excitatory synapses. Overexpression of SRPX2 in the mouse brain equivalent of the human brain's language area affected synapse density and disrupted the ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by mouse pups in search of their mothers.

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