Molecular mechanisms: Rett syndrome gene regulates RNA
MeCP2 expression spikes between days three and eight of stem cells’ transformation into neurons, the new study found. During this time, the cells’ nuclei — which contain all their genetic information — increase in size by about one-third.
Cells lacking MeCP2 do not show this increase in nuclear size, the study found. Nuclei in the brains of 1-month-old mice lacking MeCP2 are also smaller than those in controls.
At day eight, MeCP2-deficient neurons have significantly less overall RNA than control neurons do. The bulk of the RNA in cells is made up of cellular machinery, such as ribosomes, which translate genetic messages into proteins. This suggests that lack of MeCP2 could lead to an overall problem with gene expression, the researchers say.
1: Yazdani M. et al. Stem Cells Epub ahead of print (2012) PubMed