In comments reported on Reuters, in Missing protein may underlie autism: U.S. study, Tsai was clear about the significance of Cdk5 failing to facilitate CASK in the development of autism:
""We show that if Cdk5 fails to facilitate CASK, then there is a very profound defect in synapse formation, ....
The most accepted hypothesis for autism is that there is a defect in synapse formation," Tsai said, adding that mutations of genes directly connected to CASK have already been identified as being associated with autism.
Mutations of CASK and Cdk5 are also identified in certain patients with mental retardation.
"I think this study strongly suggests this pathway involving Cdk5 ... is intimately involved (in autism)," she said.