Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) is a multifunctional chromosomal protein that plays a key role in the central nervous system. Its levels need to be tightly regulated, as both deficiency and excess of the protein can lead to severe neuronal dysfunction. Loss-of-function mutations affecting MeCP2 are the primary cause of Rett syndrome (RTT), a severe neurological disorder that is thought to result from absence of functional protein in the brain. Several therapeutic strategies for the treatment of RTT are currently being developed. One of them is the use of stable and native TAT-MeCP2 fusion proteins to replenish its levels in neurons after permeation across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Here we describe the expression and purification of various transactivator of transcription (TAT)-MeCP2 variants and the development of an electrochemiluminescence based assay (ECLIA) that is able to measure endogenous MeCP2 and recombinant TAT-MeCP2 fusion protein levels in a 96-well plate format. The MeCP2 ECLIA produces highly quantitative, accurate and reproducible measurements with low intra- and inter-assay error throughout a wide working range. To underline its broad applicability, this assay was used to analyze brain tissue and study the transport of TAT-MeCP2 variants across an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier.
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