Methyl C-p-G binding protein 2 (MeCP2) regulates gene expression. For genes that are switched on histone “tails” near the promotor region of the gene are acetylated, represented by white glowing balls. When these histones are acetylated the chromatin remains in an open configuration and gene transcription can take place.
Alternatively, when DNA further upstream from the promotor region is methylated, shown by yellow spikes, MeCP2 protein can bind to that DNA region. MeCP2 recruits a protein complex made up of Sin3A and HDAC (histone deacetylase). HDAC removes the acetyl groups from the histone tails, causing the chromatin to change its conformation to a tightly wound form that is not accessible to transcription factors. In the absence of bound transcription factors, the gene is off.
From Lecture 4 of the 2003 Holiday Lectures Series "Learning From Patients: The Science of Medicine."
MECP2 Teaching Tips
The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. Use the tips below to get started but look for more specific teaching tips in the near future. Please tell us how you are using the animations in your classroom by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the animations to make abstract scientific ideas visible and concrete.
Explain important scientific principles through the animations. For example, the biological clocks animations can be used to demonstrate the fundamentals of transcription and translation.
Make sure that students learn the material by repeating sections of the animations as often as you think necessary to reinforce underlying scientific principles. You can start, restart, and play back sections of the animations.
Urge students to use the animations in accordance with their own learning styles. Students who are more visually oriented can watch the animations first and read the text later, while others might prefer to read the explanations first and then view the graphics.
Incorporate the animations into Web-based learning modules that you create to supplement your classroom curricula.
Encourage students to incorporate the animations into their own Web-based projects.