Advances in understanding of Rett syndrome and MECP2 duplication syndrome: prospects for future therapies.
The X-linked gene encoding MECP2 is involved in two severe and complex neurodevelopmental disorders. Loss of function of the MeCP2 protein underlies Rett syndrome, whereas duplications of the MECP2 locus cause MECP2 duplication syndrome. Research on the mechanisms by which MeCP2 exerts effects on gene expression in neurons, studies of animal models bearing different disease-causing mutations, and more in-depth observations of clinical presentations have clarified some issues even as they have raised further questions. Yet there is enough evidence so far to suggest possible approaches to therapy for these two diseases that could go beyond attempting to address specific signs and symptoms (of which there are many) and instead target the pathophysiology underlying MECP2 disorders. Further work could bring antisense oligonucleotides, deep brain stimulation, and gene therapy into the clinic within the next decade or so.