April 2011

Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


Neurodevelopmental disorders, including the Autism spectrum of disorders, comprise a diverse set of conditions characterized generally by deficits in the growth and development of the brain. Significant gains have been made over the past 25 years in uncovering the genetic basis for many of these disorders; however, it is presently unclear how mutation in a gene disrupts the formation and maintenance of neural circuitry to lead to a particlar set of symptoms. To gain insights into how disruption of genes cause defects in neurodevelopment and behavior, we need to understand the cellular basis of these diseases. Mutations in the gene encoding the transcription factor methyl-CpG protein 2 (MeCP2) cause the neurodevelopmental disorder, Rett syndrome (RTT). MeCP2 is thought to act primarily as a general transcriptional repressor by binding to methylated CpGs in the DNA and recruiting transcriptional co-repressors such as histone deacetylaces (HDACs), which in turn alter the local chromatin s




Neuroscience Graduate Program


School of Medicine



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