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Nat Med. 2017 Oct;23(10):1203-1214. doi: 10.1038/nm.4406. Epub 2017 Sep 18.

Biotin tagging of MeCP2 in mice reveals contextual insights into the Rett syndrome transcriptome.

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Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Systems Biology, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, USA.


Mutations in MECP2 cause Rett syndrome (RTT), an X-linked neurological disorder characterized by regressive loss of neurodevelopmental milestones and acquired psychomotor deficits. However, the cellular heterogeneity of the brain impedes an understanding of how MECP2 mutations contribute to RTT. Here we developed a Cre-inducible method for cell-type-specific biotin tagging of MeCP2 in mice. Combining this approach with an allelic series of knock-in mice carrying frequent RTT-associated mutations (encoding T158M and R106W) enabled the selective profiling of RTT-associated nuclear transcriptomes in excitatory and inhibitory cortical neurons. We found that most gene-expression changes were largely specific to each RTT-associated mutation and cell type. Lowly expressed cell-type-enriched genes were preferentially disrupted by MeCP2 mutations, with upregulated and downregulated genes reflecting distinct functional categories. Subcellular RNA analysis in MeCP2-mutant neurons further revealed reductions in the nascent transcription of long genes and uncovered widespread post-transcriptional compensation at the cellular level. Finally, we overcame X-linked cellular mosaicism in female RTT models and identified distinct gene-expression changes between neighboring wild-type and mutant neurons, providing contextual insights into RTT etiology that support personalized therapeutic interventions.

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