MeCP2 dysfunction in Rett syndrome and related disorders

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Jun;16(3):276-81. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2006.04.009. Epub 2006 May 2.


Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2), is a leading cause of mental retardation with autistic features in females. MECP2 mutations have also been identified in individuals with a variety of clinical syndromes, including mild learning-disability in females, neonatal encephalopathy in males, and psychiatric disorders, autism and X-linked mental retardation in both males and females. Furthermore, MECP2 duplications have been shown to cause a progressive postnatal neurological disorder. MeCP2 is a transcriptional repressor that binds to methylated CpG dinucleotides flanked by AT-rich segments and recruits a co-repressor complex, thereby altering chromatin structure. Subtle gene expression changes have been identified in Rett patients and mouse models; however, MeCP2 dysfunction has also been shown to cause abnormalities of RNA splicing, suggesting a complex molecular pathogenesis. Discovering which genes are misregulated in the absence of functional MeCP2 and demonstrating their role in causing neuronal dysfunction and disease manifestations are challenging but important steps for understanding the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome and related disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / genetics*
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Rett Syndrome / classification*
  • Rett Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics
  • Rett Syndrome / metabolism*


  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2