Increased MECP2 gene copy number as the result of genomic duplication in neurodevelopmentally delayed males

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Genetics in Medicine (Impact Factor: 6.44). 01/2007; 8(12):784-92. DOI: 10.1097/01.gim.0000250502.28516.3c
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations in the MECP2 gene are associated with Rett syndrome, an X-linked mental retardation disorder in females. Mutations also cause variable neurodevelopmental phenotypes in rare affected males. Recent clinical testing for MECP2 gene rearrangements revealed that entire MECP2 gene duplication occurs in some males manifesting a progressive neurodevelopmental syndrome.
Clinical testing through quantitative DNA methods and chromosomal microarray analysis in our laboratories identified seven male patients with increased MECP2 gene copy number.
Duplication of the entire MECP2 gene was found in six patients, and MECP2 triplication was found in one patient with the most severe phenotype. The Xq28 duplications observed in these males are unique and vary in size from approximately 200 kb to 2.2 Mb. Three of the mothers who were tested were asymptomatic duplication carriers with skewed X-inactivation. In silico analysis of the Xq28 flanking region showed numerous low-copy repeats with potential roles in recombination.
These collective data suggest that increased MECP2 gene copy number is mainly responsible for the neurodevelopmental phenotypes in these males. These findings underscore the allelic and phenotypic heterogeneity associated with the MECP2 gene and highlight the value of molecular analysis for patient diagnosis, family members at risk, and genetic counseling.

Download full-text


Available from: Sau Wai Cheung, Jul 02, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic mechanisms are fundamental for shaping the activity of the central nervous system (CNS). Methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) acts as a bridge between methylated DNA and transcriptional effectors responsible for differentiation programs in neurons. The importance of MECP2 dosage in CNS is evident in Rett Syndrome and MECP2 duplication syndrome, which are neurodevelopmental diseases caused by loss-of-function mutations or duplication of the MECP2 gene, respectively. Although many studies have been performed on Rett syndrome models, little is known about the effects of an increase in MECP2 dosage. Herein, we demonstrate that MECP2 overexpression affects neural tube formation, leading to a decrease in neuroblast proliferation in the neural tube ventricular zone. Furthermore, an increase in MECP2 dose provokes premature differentiation of neural precursors accompanied by greater cell death, resulting in loss of neuronal populations. Overall, our data indicate that correct MECP2 expression levels are required for proper nervous system development.
    Neurobiology of Disease 07/2014; 67. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2014.03.009 · 5.20 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Xq28 duplications encompassing the methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) in males exhibit a distinct phenotype, including developmental delay, facial dysmorphism, muscular hypotonia, intellectual disability, poor or absent speech, recurrent infections and early death. The vast majority of affected males inherit the MECP2 duplication from their usually asymptomatic carrier mothers. Only a few cases with Xq28 duplication originating from de novo unbalanced X/Y translocation have been reported and the paternal origin of the aberration has only been validated in three males in related to the literature. Here we present a karyotypically normal male with features characteristic of the MECP2 duplication syndrome. The genome-wide SNP genotyping shows a de novo 2.26-Mb duplication from Xq28 to the terminus. The genotypes of the SNPs within the duplicated region indicated a paternal origin. Furthermore, the results of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) indicated a novel Xq:Yp translocation, characterized as der(Y)t(Y;X)(p11.32;q28), which suggests an aberrant occurred during spermatogenesis. The phenotype is compared to the previously reported cases with Xq28 duplication originated from an unbalanced X/Y translocation, and there was no specific part of the phenotype that could be contributed to the origin of parental imbalances. This report further highlights the capacity of high-molecular cytogenetic methods, such as SNP array and FISH, in the identification of submicroscopic rearrangement, structural configuration and parental origin of aberrant while in the evaluation of children with idiopathic developmental delay and intellectual disability.
    Gene 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.gene.2013.10.001 · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alterations in the X-linked gene MECP2 encoding the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 have been linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Most recently, data suggest that overexpression of MECP2 may be related to ASD. To better characterize the relevance of MECP2 overexpression to ASD-related behaviors, we compared the core symptoms of ASD in MECP2 duplication syndrome to nonverbal mental age-matched boys with idiopathic ASD. Within the MECP2 duplication group, we further delineated aspects of the behavioral phenotype and also examined how duplication size and gene content corresponded to clinical severity. We compared ten males with MECP2 duplication syndrome (ages 3-10) with a chronological and mental age-matched sample of nine nonverbal males with idiopathic ASD. Our results indicate that boys with MECP2 duplication syndrome share the core behavioral features of ASD (e.g. social affect, restricted/repetitive behaviors). Direct comparisons of ASD profiles revealed that a majority of boys with MECP2 duplication syndrome are similar to idiopathic ASD; they have impairments in social affect (albeit to a lesser degree than idiopathic ASD) and similar severity in restricted/repetitive behaviors. Nonverbal mental age did not correlate with severity of social impairment or repetitive behaviors. Within the MECP2 duplication group, breakpoint size does not predict differences in clinical severity. In addition to social withdrawal and stereotyped behaviors, we also found that hyposensitivity to pain/temperature are part of the behavioral phenotype of MECP2 duplication syndrome. Our results illustrate that overexpression/increased dosage of MECP2 is related to core features of ASD. Autism Res 2012, ●●: ●●-●●. © 2012 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Autism Research 02/2013; 6(1). DOI:10.1002/aur.1262 · 4.53 Impact Factor