Rui Peixoto, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Psychiatry




Personal Website

website link

Education & Training

PhD, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal; Duke University Medical Center (2011)

Campus Address

Bridgeside Point II, Room 225, 450 Technology Drive

One-Line Research Description

Development of corticostriatal circuits in autism spectrum disorders

Cortex and basal ganglia are reciprocally interconnected and regulate fundamental aspects of emotional, cognitive and motor control. In recent years multiple lines of evidence have implicated corticostriatal dysfunction in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, despite its critical role in regulating higher brain functions the development of corticostriatal circuits remains poorly understood. Our lab then focuses on understanding these questions: What are the molecular and activity-dependent mechanisms underlying the development and maturation of basal ganglia circuits? How does early basal ganglia activity influences the development of cortical circuits and contributes for the establishment of adult patterns of behavior? And how are these developmental processes altered in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism? To address these we employ a multi-disciplinary research program combining biochemistry, genetics, and ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology and 2-photon microscopy. This integrative approach will advance our understanding of how innate and activity-dependent factors coordinate the formation of subcortical circuits and identify potential common pathophysiological mechanisms associated with ASD.

Representative Publications

R.T. Peixoto, L. Chantranupong, R. Hakim, J. Levasseur, T. Merchant, K. Gorman, B. Budnik and B.L. Sabatini (2019) Abnormal striatal development underlies the early onset of behavioral deficits in Shank3B-/- mice. Cell Reports Vol: 29, Issue: 7, Page: 2016-2027.e4

P. Zhang, H.Lu*, R.T. Peixoto*, M.K. Pines*, Y. Ge, S. Oku, T.J. Siddiqui, Y. Xie, W. Wu, S. Archer-Hartmann, K. Yoshida, K.F. Tanaka, A.R. Aricescu, P. Azadi, M.D. Gordon, B.L. Sabatini, R.O.L. Wong, and A.M. Craig (2018) Heparan Sulfate Organizes Neuronal Synapses Through Neurexin Partnerships.  Cell 174(6):1450 *equal contribution

R.T. Peixoto, W. Wang, D. Croney, Y. Kozorovitskiy, B.L. Sabatini (2016) Early hyperactivity and precocious maturation of corticostriatal circuits in Shank3B-/- mice. Nature Neuroscience 19(5):716-24

Y. Kozorovitskiy, R. Peixoto, W. Wang, A. Saunders, B.L. Sabatini (2015) Neuromodulation of excitatory synaptogenesis in striatal development. eLife 10.7554/eLife.10111

R.T. Peixoto, P.A. Kunz, H. Kwon, A.M. Mabb, B.L. Sabatini, B.D. Philpot and M.D. Ehlers (2012) Trans-synaptic signaling by activity dependent cleavage of Neuroligin-1. Neuron 76(2):396-409.