Adrian Bird of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues report today in the online issue of Molecular Cell that the "Rett Syndrome protein", MeCP2, only binds to genes with a specific sequence of nucleotide bases. This knowledge will aid in the identification of the genes that are regulated by the gene MECP2. This work was supported, in part, by the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation (RSRF).
Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a severe neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in girls. Children with RTT appear to develop normally until 6 to 18 months of age, when they enter a period of regression, losing speech and motor skills. Most develop repetitive hand movements, irregular breathing patterns, seizures and extreme motor control problems. RTT leaves its victims profoundly disabled, requiring maximum assistance with every aspect of daily living. There is no cure.
The instructions needed to make the cells of all living organisms are contained in their DNA, which is organized as two complementary strands with bonds between them that can be "unzipped" like a zipper. DNA is encoded with building blocks called bases which can be abbreviated A, T, C, G. Each base "pairs up" with only one other base: A-T, T-A, C-G, G-C create the bonds that connect the complementary strands. Long stretches of base pairs make up genes.
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