Copy number variations encompassing the gene encoding Cyfip1 have been associated with a variety ofhumandiseases, including autism and schizophrenia. Here we show that juvenile mice hemizygous for Cyfip1 have altered presynaptic function, enhanced protein translation, and increased levels of F-actin. In developing hippocampus, reduced Cyfip1 levels serve to decrease paired pulse facilitation and increase miniature EPSC frequency without a change in amplitude. Higher-resolution examination shows these changes to be caused primarily by an increase in presynaptic terminal size and enhanced vesicle release probability. Short hairpin-mediated knockdown of Cyfip1 coupled with expression of mutant Cyfip1 proteins indicates that the presynaptic alterations are caused by dysregulation of the WAVE regulatory complex. Such dysregulation occurs downstream of Rac1 as acute exposure to Rac1 inhibitors rescues presynaptic responses in culture and in hippocampal slices. The data serve to highlight an early and essential role for Cyfip1 in the generation of normally functioning synapses and suggest a means by which changes in Cyfip1 levels could impact the generation of neural networks and contribute to abnormal and maladaptive behaviors.
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