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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Aug 23;108(34):14169-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018979108. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Neuronal maturation defect in induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with Rett syndrome.

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Department of Genetics, Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Rett syndrome (RTT) is one of the most prevalent female neurodevelopmental disorders that cause severe mental retardation. Mutations in methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) are mainly responsible for RTT. Patients with classical RTT exhibit normal development until age 6-18 mo, at which point they become symptomatic and display loss of language and motor skills, purposeful hand movements, and normal head growth. Murine genetic models and postmortem human brains have been used to study the disease and enable the molecular dissection of RTT. In this work, we applied a recently developed reprogramming approach to generate a novel in vitro human RTT model. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were derived from RTT fibroblasts by overexpressing the reprogramming factors OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and MYC. Intriguingly, whereas some iPSCs maintained X chromosome inactivation, in others the X chromosome was reactivated. Thus, iPSCs were isolated that retained a single active X chromosome expressing either mutant or WT MeCP2, as well as iPSCs with reactivated X chromosomes expressing both mutant and WT MeCP2. When these cells underwent neuronal differentiation, the mutant monoallelic or biallelelic RTT-iPSCs displayed a defect in neuronal maturation consistent with RTT phenotypes. Our in vitro model of RTT is an important tool allowing the further investigation of the pathophysiology of RTT and the development of the curative therapeutics.

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