MeCP2 SUMOylation rescues Mecp2-mutant-induced behavioural deficits in a mouse model of Rett syndrome

Nat Commun. 2016 Feb 4:7:10552. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10552.


The methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) gene, MECP2, is an X-linked gene encoding the MeCP2 protein, and mutations of MECP2 cause Rett syndrome (RTT). However, the molecular mechanism of MECP2-mutation-caused RTT is less known. Here we find that MeCP2 could be SUMO-modified by the E3 ligase PIAS1 at Lys-412. MeCP2 phosphorylation (at Ser-421 and Thr-308) facilitates MeCP2 SUMOylation, and MeCP2 SUMOylation is induced by NMDA, IGF-1 and CRF in the rat brain. MeCP2 SUMOylation releases CREB from the repressor complex and enhances Bdnf mRNA expression. Several MECP2 mutations identified in RTT patients show decreased MeCP2 SUMOylation. Re-expression of wild-type MeCP2 or SUMO-modified MeCP2 in Mecp2-null neurons rescues the deficits of social interaction, fear memory and LTP observed in Mecp2 conditional knockout (cKO) mice. These results together reveal an important role of MeCP2 SUMOylation in social interaction, memory and synaptic plasticity, and that abnormal MeCP2 SUMOylation is implicated in RTT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Blotting, Western
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Fear
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Learning
  • Lentivirus
  • Memory
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / genetics
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics
  • Rett Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Social Behavior
  • Sumoylation*


  • Mecp2 protein, mouse
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT