Modeling Rett Syndrome with Stem Cells

Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Center, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Cell (Impact Factor: 32.24). 11/2010; 143(4):499-500. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.10.037
Source: PubMed


The discovery that somatic cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) raised the exciting possibility of modeling diseases with patient-specific cells. Marchetto et al. (2010) now use iPSC technology to generate, characterize, and treat an in vitro model for the autism spectrum disorder Rett syndrome.

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    • "Thus, the neurons preferentially inactivated the AR gene on one parental X-chromosome but not randomly as would be expected. These results have been interpreted as suggesting that the neurons preferentially inactivated the parental X-chromosome carrying WT MECP2 (Walsh and Hochedlinger, 2010). However, it is also possible that during neuronal differentiation, dividing neuronal progenitors carrying a particular Xi may have a proliferative advantage causing the observed skewing in the resulting neurons (Pomp et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects girls due primarily to heterozygous mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2). Random X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) results in cellular mosaicism in which some cells express wild-type (WT) MECP2 while other cells express mutant MECP2. The generation of patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) facilitates the production of RTT-hiPSC-derived neurons in vitro to investigate disease mechanisms and identify novel drug treatments. The generation of RTT-hiPSCs has been reported by many laboratories, however, the XCI status of RTT-hiPSCs has been inconsistent. Some report RTT-hiPSCs retain the inactive X-chromosome (post-XCI) of the founder somatic cell allowing isogenic RTT-hiPSCs that express only the WT or mutant MECP2 allele to be isolated from the same patient. Post-XCI RTT-hiPSCs-derived neurons retain this allele-specific expression pattern of WT or mutant MECP2. Conversely, others report RTT-hiPSCs in which the inactive X-chromosome of the founder somatic cell reactivates (pre-XCI) upon reprogramming into RTT-hiPSCs. Pre-XCI RTT-hiPSC-derived neurons exhibit random XCI resulting in cellular mosaicism with respect to WT and mutant MECP2 expression. Here we review and attempt to interpret the inconsistencies in XCI status of RTT-hiPSCs generated to date by comparison to other pluripotent systems in vitro and in vivo and the methods used to analyze XCI. Finally, we discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of post- and pre-XCI hiPSCs in the context of RTT, and other X-linked and autosomal disorders for translational medicine.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Frontiers in Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: The advent of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has brought the goal of using patient-derived cells for tissue repair closer to reality. However, the mechanisms involved in reprogramming to a pluripotent state are still not clear. It is understood that reprogramming to pluripotency involves epigenetic remodeling and the reactivation of "core" pluripotency factors. However, little is known about the mechanisms involved in overcoming senescence while avoiding oncogenesis, the maintenance of self-renewal, and the regulation of the balance between pluripotency and differentiation. Here, we review recent advances in reprogramming technology and what is currently known about the mechanism of reprogramming to pluripotency. Work with patient-derived iPSCs is already providing new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in human disease. Further advances in reprogramming technology should result in efficient methods to reprogram patient-derived cells into iPSCs for use in regenerative medicine.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2010 · Genes & cancer

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie
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