MeCP2: structure and function

Biochem Cell Biol. 2011 Feb;89(1):1-11. doi: 10.1139/O10-112.


Despite a vast body of literature linking chromatin structure to regulation of gene expression, the role of architectural proteins in higher order chromatin transitions required for transcription activation and repression has remained an under-studied field. To demonstrate the current knowledge of the role of such proteins, we have focused our attention on the methylated DNA binding and chromatin-associated protein MeCP2. Structural studies using chromatin assembled in vitro have revealed that MeCP2 can associate with nucleosomes in an N-terminus dependent manner and efficiently condense nucleosome arrays. The present review attempts to match MeCP2 structural domains, or lack thereof, and specific chromatin features needed for the proper recruitment of MeCP2 to its multiple functions as either activator or repressor. We specifically focused on MeCP2's role in Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder associated with specific MeCP2 mutations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / chemistry*
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics*
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MBD1 protein, human
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2
  • Nucleosomes
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Transcription Factors