Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery will aid identification of misregulated genes in Rett Syndrome

02.09.2005


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.


All genes found in the human body are present in every one of our cells. What allows the same cells to develop into a heart in one instance and a kidney in another? The answer is gene expression. In a typical human cell only one tenth of the genes are expressed; the rest are shut down.

One way that genes are shut down is by attaching a small "tag" called a methyl group to the C base. The number and placement of the methyl tags dictates when a gene should be silenced. The protein, MeCP2, binds to these methyl groups to silence particular genes.

Dr. Bird and colleagues found that the methyl groups alone were not enough to attract MeCP2 to a gene. In fact, what is needed is a stretch of at least four A-T bases flanking the methyl groups.

"We previously thought that MeCP2 only needed methyl groups to bind DNA. As there are about 30 million such sites in the genome, it seemed likely that MeCP2 was a rather indiscriminate repressor of gene expression all over the genome. The new data shows that the number of potential MeCP2 binding sites is in fact far less than we thought, making it easier to find new target genes that are mis-regulated in Rett Syndrome," said Adrian Bird.

Researchers hypothesize that the devastating cascade of symptoms seen in Rett Syndrome is caused by the inability of mutated MeCP2 to silence its target genes. To date, the genes DLX5 and BDNF have emerged as strong MeCP2 target candidates and are therefore implicated in the disease process of Rett Syndrome. Interestingly, both genes were found to have the required A-T stretch, strengthening the argument that MeCP2 is involved in regulating these genes.

"Finding the MeCP2 target genes is a crucial step in understanding what goes awry in Rett Syndrome. Unfortunately these genes have been elusive. Dr. Bird’s discovery of the A-T stretch provides a much-needed clue which should aid in their identification," said Monica Coenraads, Director of Research for RSRF.

Monica Coenraads | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsrf.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
20.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>