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Deletion of Mecp2 in Sim1-expressing neurons reveals a critical role for MeCP2 in feeding behavior, aggression, and the response to stress.

Neuron | Sep 25, 2008

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18817733

Rett Syndrome (RTT) is an autism spectrum disorder caused by mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2). In order to map the neuroanatomic origins of the complex neuropsychiatric behaviors observed in patients with RTT and to uncover endogenous functions of MeCP2 in the hypothalamus, we removed Mecp2 from Sim1-expressing neurons in the hypothalamus using Cre-loxP technology. Loss of MeCP2 in Sim1-expressing neurons resulted in mice that recapitulated the abnormal physiological stress response that is seen upon MeCP2 dysfunction in the entire brain. Surprisingly, we also uncovered a role for MeCP2 in the regulation of social and feeding behaviors since the Mecp2 conditional knockout (CKO) mice were aggressive, hyperphagic, and obese. This study demonstrates that deleting Mecp2 in a defined brain region is an excellent approach to map the neuronal origins of complex behaviors and provides new insight about the function of MeCP2 in specific neurons.

Pubmed ID: 18817733 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adaptation, Psychological | Adiposity | Aggression | Animals | Appetite Regulation | Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors | Feeding Behavior | Gene Deletion | Genetic Engineering | Hypothalamus | Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 | Mice | Mice, Inbred Strains | Mice, Knockout | Neurons | Repressor Proteins | Social Behavior | Stress, Psychological

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Associated grants

  • Agency: Autism Speaks, Id: AS1622
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: HD024064
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240-01
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240-02
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240-03
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240-04
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: K08 NS052240-05
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS057819
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: P30 HD024064
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: P30 HD024064-20
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS057819
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS057819-03
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:

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