Age-dependent expression of MeCP2 in a heterozygous mosaic mouse model

Hum Mol Genet. 2011 May 1;20(9):1834-43. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr066. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Functional deficiency of the X-linked methyl-CPG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) leads to the neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome (RTT). Due to random X-chromosome inactivation (XCI), most RTT patients are females who are heterozygous for the MECP2 mutation and therefore mosaic in MeCP2 deficiency. Some MECP2 heterozygote females are found to have unbalanced XCI, which may affect the severity of neurological symptoms seen in these patients; however, whether MeCP2 deficiency affects XCI in the postnatal and adult brain is unclear. Here we developed a novel MeCP2 mosaic mouse model in which the X chromosome containing the wild-type Mecp2 expresses a green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene, while the X chromosome harboring the mutant Mecp2 does not. Due to random XCI, the neurons in the female MeCP2 mosaic mice express either wild-type MeCP2 (GFP+) or mutant MeCP2 (GFP-), and the two can be distinguished by GFP fluorescence. Using this mouse model, we evaluated XCI in female heterozygote mice from 3 to 9 months after birth. We found that MeCP2 deficiency does not affect XCI at 3 months of age, but does alter the proportion of wild-type MeCP2-expressing neurons at later ages, suggesting that MeCP2 impacts XCI patterns in an age-dependent manner. Given the important function of MeCP2 in neuronal development, our data could shed light on how MeCP2 deficiency affects postnatal brain functions and the dynamic changes in the neurological symptoms of RTT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / genetics*
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / metabolism
  • Mice*
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics*
  • Rett Syndrome / metabolism
  • Rett Syndrome / pathology
  • X Chromosome Inactivation*


  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2