An AT-Hook Domain in MeCP2 Determines the Clinical Course of Rett Syndrome and Related Disorders
ABSTRACT Mutations in the X-linked MECP2 cause Rett syndrome, a devastating neurological disorder typified by a period of apparently normal development followed by loss of cognitive and psychomotor skills. Data from rare male patients suggest symptom onset and severity can be influenced by the location of the mutation, with amino acids 270 and 273 marking the difference between neonatal encephalopathy and death, on the one hand, and survival with deficits on the other. We therefore generated two mouse models expressing either MeCP2-R270X or MeCP2-G273X. The mice developed phenotypes at strikingly different rates and showed differential ATRX nuclear localization within the nervous system, over time, coinciding with phenotypic progression. We discovered that MeCP2 contains three AT-hook-like domains over a stretch of 250 amino acids, like HMGA DNA-bending proteins; one conserved AT-hook is disrupted in MeCP2-R270X, lending further support to the notion that one of MeCP2's key functions is to alter chromatin structure.
SourceAvailable from: Congdi Song
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ABSTRACT: Immature neurons undergo morphological and physiological changes including axonal and dendritic development to establish neuronal networks. As the transcriptional status changes at a large number of genes during neuronal maturation, global changes in chromatin modifiers may take place in this process. We now show that the amount of heterochromatin protein 1γ (HP1γ) increases during neuronal maturation in the mouse neocortex. Knockdown of HP1γ suppressed axonal and dendritic development in mouse embryonic neocortical neurons in culture, and either knockdown or knockout of HP1γ impaired the projection of callosal axons of superficial layer neurons to the contralateral hemisphere in the developing neocortex. Conversely, forced expression of HP1γ facilitated axonal and dendritic development, suggesting that the increase of HP1γ is a rate limiting step in neuronal maturation. These results together show an important role for HP1γ in promoting axonal and dendritic development in maturing neurons. © 2014 The Authors Genes to Cells © 2014 by the Molecular Biology Society of Japan and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.Genes to Cells 11/2014; DOI:10.1111/gtc.12205 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Epigenetics refers to a variety of processes that have heritable effects on gene expression programs without changes in DNA sequence. Key players in epigenetic control are chemical modifications to DNA, histone, and non-histone chromosomal proteins, which establish a complex regulatory network that controls genome function. Methylation of DNA at the fifth position of cytosine in CpG dinucleotides (5-methylcytosine, 5mC), which is carried out by DNA methyltransferases, is commonly associated with gene silencing. However, high resolution mapping of DNA methylation has revealed that 5mC is enriched in exonic nucleosomes and at intron-exon junctions, suggesting a role of DNA methylation in the relationship between elongation and RNA splicing. Recent studies have increased our knowledge of another modification of DNA, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), which is a product of the ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins converting 5mC to 5hmC. In this review, we will highlight current studies on the role of 5mC and 5hmC in regulating gene expression (using some aspects of brain development as examples). Further the roles of these modifications in detection of pathological states (type 2 diabetes, Rett syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and teratogen exposure) will be discussed.Biology 10/2014; 3(4):670-723. DOI:10.3390/biology3040670