The array of clinical phenotypes of males with mutations in Methyl-CpG binding protein 2

Jeffrey L. Neul, Timothy A. Benke, Eric D. Marsh, Steven A. Skinner, Jonathan Merritt, David N. Lieberman, Shannon Standridge, Timothy Feyma, Peter Heydemann, Sarika Peters, Robin Ryther, Mary Jones, Bernhard Suter, Walter E. Kaufmann, Daniel G. Glaze, Alan K. Percy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Mutations in the X-linked gene MECP2 are associated with a severe neurodevelopmental disorder, Rett syndrome (RTT), primarily in girls. It had been suspected that mutations in Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) led to embryonic lethality in males, however such males have been reported. To enhance understanding of the phenotypic spectrum present in these individuals, we identified 30 males with MECP2 mutations in the RTT Natural History Study databases. A wide phenotypic spectrum was observed, ranging from severe neonatal encephalopathy to cognitive impairment. Two males with a somatic mutation in MECP2 had classic RTT. Of the remaining 28 subjects, 16 had RTT-causing MECP2 mutations, 9 with mutations that are not seen in females with RTT but are likely pathogenic, and 3 with uncertain variants. Two subjects with RTT-causing mutations were previously diagnosed as having atypical RTT; however, careful review of the clinical history determined that an additional 12/28 subjects met criteria for atypical RTT, but with more severe clinical presentation and course, and less distinctive RTT features, than females with RTT, leading to the designation of a new diagnostic entity, male RTT encephalopathy. Increased awareness of the clinical spectrum and widespread comprehensive genomic testing in boys with neurodevelopmental problems will lead to improved identification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-67
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • MECP2
  • Rett syndrome
  • encephalopathy
  • genetics
  • male
  • neurodevelopmental disorders


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