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Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Jan 1;22(1):96-109. doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds406. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Female Mecp2(+/-) mice display robust behavioral deficits on two different genetic backgrounds providing a framework for pre-clinical studies.

Author information

1
Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Abstract

Rett syndrome (RTT) is an X-linked neurological disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding the transcriptional modulator methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2). Typical RTT primarily affects girls and is characterized by a brief period of apparently normal development followed by the loss of purposeful hand skills and language, the onset of anxiety, hand stereotypies, autistic features, seizures and autonomic dysfunction. Mecp2 mouse models have extensively been studied to demonstrate the functional link between MeCP2 dysfunction and RTT pathogenesis. However, the majority of studies have focused primarily on the molecular and behavioral consequences of the complete absence of MeCP2 in male mice. Studies of female Mecp2(+/-) mice have been limited because of potential phenotypic variability due to X chromosome inactivation effects. To determine whether reproducible and reliable phenotypes can be detected Mecp2(+/-) mice, we analyzed Mecp2(+/-) mice of two different F1 hybrid isogenic backgrounds and at young and old ages using several neurobehavioral and physiological assays. Here, we report a multitude of phenotypes in female Mecp2(+/-) mice, some presenting as early as 5 weeks of life. We demonstrate that Mecp2(+/-) mice recapitulate several aspects of typical RTT and show that mosaic expression of MeCP2 does not preclude the use of female mice in behavioral and molecular studies. Importantly, we uncover several behavioral abnormalities that are present in two genetic backgrounds and report on phenotypes that are unique to one background. These findings provide a framework for pre-clinical studies aimed at improving the constellation of phenotypes in a mouse model of RTT.

PMID:
23026749
PMCID:
PMC3522402
DOI:
10.1093/hmg/dds406
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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