Targeted RNA editing in brainstem alleviates respiratory dysfunction in a mouse model of Rett syndrome

John R. Sinnamon, Michael E. Jacobson, John F. Yung, Jenna R. Fisk, Sophia Jeng, Shannon K. McWeeney, Chi Ngai Chan, Siu Pok Yee, Gail Mandel, Lindsay K. Parmelee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rett syndrome is a neurological disease due to loss-of-function mutations in the transcription factor, Methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2). Because overexpression of endogenous MECP2 also causes disease, we have exploited a targeted RNA-editing approach to repair patient mutations where levels of MECP2 protein will never exceed endogenous levels. Here, we have constructed adeno-associated viruses coexpressing a bio-engineered wild-type ADAR2 catalytic domain (Editasewt) and either Mecp2-targeting or nontargeting gfp RNA guides. The viruses are introduced systemically into male mice containing a guanosine to adenosine mutation that eliminates MeCP2 protein and causes classic Rett syndrome in humans. We find that in the mutant mice injected with the Mecp2-targeting virus, the brainstem exhibits the highest RNA-editing frequency compared to other brain regions. The efficiency is sufficient to rescue MeCP2 expression and function in the brainstem of mice expressing the Mecp2-targeting virus. Correspondingly, we find that abnormal Rett-like respiratory patterns are alleviated, and survival is prolonged, compared to mice injected with the control gfp guide virus. The levels of RNA editing among most brain regions corresponds to the distribution of guide RNA rather than Editasewt. Our results provide evidence that a targeted RNA-editing approach can alleviate a hallmark symptom in a mouse model of human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2206053119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 16 2022


  • Rett syndrome
  • neurological disorder
  • targeted RNA editing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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