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Lab Reports
June 6, 2007

Mental Retardation Clue

JAMA. 2007;297(21):2339. doi:10.1001/jama.297.21.2339-c

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and the University of Florida College of Medicine, in Gainesville, have recently deciphered how a protein called SMCX previously implicated in mental retardation may contribute to the development of the disease (Tahiliani M et al. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature05823 [published online ahead of print April 29, 2007]).

SMCX modifies histones that package DNA into chromatin to form chromosomes. Specifically, the protein removes trimethyl groups from a particular histone (H3) and represses transcription of certain neuronal genes.

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