Apr 7, 2020

The enhancement of activity rescues the establishment of Mecp2 null neuronal phenotypes

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nicoletta LandsbergerG. De Rocco


Mecp2 deficiency, the gene responsible for Rett syndrome (RTT), affects brain maturation by impairing neuronal activity, transcription and morphology. These three elements are physiologically linked in a feed-forward cycle where neuronal activity modulates transcription and morphology to further increase network maturity. We hypothesized that the reduced activity displayed by maturing Mecp2 null neurons during development could perturb such cycle, sustaining an improper transcriptional program that, ultimately, impairs neuronal maturation. Accordingly, we show that by enhancing activity within an early time window, Ampakine redirects, in vitro, the development of null neuronal networks towards more physiological routes. Similarly, the administration of the drug to newborn null offspring delays the progression of symptoms, significantly prolonging life span. Our data highlights the role of altered neuronal activity during the establishment of Mecp2 null networks and the importance of such early defects to the typically poor maturity of RTT brain functions in adulthood. We propose the existence of an "early molecular phase" of Rett syndrome, a detailed description of which might disclose relevant targets for new rescue treatments.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Human respiratory syncytial virus
Cell Differentiation Process
Influenza A virus
Chemical Substitution

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