[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, the neuroprotective effects of the adipokine leptin, and the molecular mechanism involved, have been studied in rat and mice cortical neurons exposed to N-methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) in vitro. In rat cortical neurons, leptin elicited neuroprotective effects against NMDA-induced cell death which were concentration-dependent (10-100ng/ml) and largest when the adipokine was preincubated for 2hours before the neurotoxic stimulus. In both rat and mouse cortical neurons, leptin-induced neuroprotection was fully antagonized by Paxilline (Pax, 0.01-1μM) and Iberiotoxin (Ibtx, 1-100nM), with EC50s (38±10nM and 5±2nM for Pax and Ibtx, respectively) close to those reported for Pax- and Ibtx-induced Ca(2+)- and voltage-activated K(+) channels (Slo1 BK channels) blockade; the BK channel opener NS1619 (1-30μM) induced a concentration-dependent protection against NMDA-induced excitotoxicity. Moreover, cortical neurons from mice lacking one or both alleles coding for Slo1 BK channel pore-forming subunits were insensitive to leptin-induced neuroprotection. Finally, leptin exposure dose-dependently (10-100ng/ml) increased intracellular Ca(2+) levels in rat cortical neurons. In conclusion, our results suggest that Slo1 BK channel activation following increases in intracellular Ca(2+) levels is a critical step for leptin-induced neuroprotection in NMDA-exposed cortical neurons in vitro, thus highlighting leptin-based intervention via BK channel activation as a potential strategy to counteract neurodegenerative diseases.
Pharmacological Research 06/2014; · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large conductance, calcium-activated potassium channels [big potassium (BK) channel] consist of a tetramer of pore-forming α-subunit and distinct accessory β-subunits (β1-4) that modify the channel's properties. In this study, we analyzed the effects of BK channel activators and blockers on glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release from synaptosomes isolated from the cerebral cortices or trigeminal caudal nuclei (TCN) of rats. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to characterize BK channel α and β(1-4) subunit expression in the cortex and in the trigeminal ganglia (TG), whose neurons project primary terminal afferents into the TCN. Immunocytochemistry was used to localize these subunits on cortical and TCN synaptosomes. The BK channels regulating [(3)H]D-aspartate release from primary afferent nerve terminals projecting into the TCN displayed limited sensitivity to iberiotoxin, whereas those expressed on cortical synaptosomes were highly sensitive to this toxin. BK channels did not appear to be present on GABAergic nerve terminals from the TCN since [(3)H]-γ-aminobutyric acid release in this model was unaffected by BK channel activators or blockers. Gene expression studies revealed expression levels of the α subunit in the TG that were only 31.2 ± 2.1 % of those found in cortical tissues. The β4 subunit was the accessory subunit expressed most abundantly in both the cortex and TG. Levels of β1 and β2 were low in both these areas although β2 expression in the TG was higher than that found in the cortex. Immunocytochemistry experiments showed that co-localization of α and β4 subunits (the accessory subunit most abundantly expressed in both brain areas) was more common in TCN synaptosomes than in cortical synaptosomes. On the basis of these findings, it is reasonable to hypothesize that BK channels expressed on glutamatergic terminals in the TCN and cortex have distinct pharmacological profiles, which probably reflect different α and β subunit combinations. Channels in the cortex seem to be composed mainly of α subunits and to a lesser degree by α and β4 subunits, whereas in the TG the α + β4 combination seems to prevail (although α and/or α + β2 channels cannot be excluded). In light of the BK channels' selective control of excitatory transmission and their pharmacological diversity, their effects on primary glutamatergic afferents projecting to TCN represent a potential target for drug therapy of migraines and other types of orofacial pain.
Neurochemical Research 03/2014; 39(5). · 2.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heart failure is one of the leading causes of mortality in Western countries, and β-blockers are a cornerstone of its treatment. However, the response to these drugs is variable among individuals, which might be explained, at least in part, by genetic differences. Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetic contributions to drug response variability in order to provide evidence for a tailored therapy in an individual patient. Several studies have investigated the pharmacogenomics of the adrenergic receptor system and its role in the context of the use of β-blockers in treating heart failure. In this review, we will focus on the most significant polymorphisms described in the literature involving adrenergic receptors and adrenergic receptor-related proteins, as well as genetic variations influencing β-blocker metabolism.
Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine 01/2014; 7:267-273.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the K(V)7.2 gene encoding for voltage-dependent K(+) channel subunits cause neonatal epilepsies with wide phenotypic heterogeneity. Two mutations affecting the same positively charged residue in the S(4) domain of K(V)7.2 have been found in children affected with benign familial neonatal seizures (R213W mutation) or with neonatal epileptic encephalopathy with severe pharmacoresistant seizures and neurocognitive delay, suppression-burst pattern at EEG, and distinct neuroradiological features (R213Q mutation). To examine the molecular basis for this strikingly different phenotype, we studied the functional characteristics of mutant channels by using electrophysiological techniques, computational modeling, and homology modeling. Functional studies revealed that, in homomeric or heteromeric configuration with K(V)7.2 and/or K(V)7.3 subunits, both mutations markedly destabilized the open state, causing a dramatic decrease in channel voltage sensitivity. These functional changes were (i) more pronounced for channels incorporating R213Q- than R213W-carrying K(V)7.2 subunits; (ii) proportional to the number of mutant subunits incorporated; and (iii) fully restored by the neuronal K(v)7 activator retigabine. Homology modeling confirmed a critical role for the R213 residue in stabilizing the activated voltage sensor configuration. Modeling experiments in CA1 hippocampal pyramidal cells revealed that both mutations increased cell firing frequency, with the R213Q mutation prompting more dramatic functional changes compared with the R213W mutation. These results suggest that the clinical disease severity may be related to the extent of the mutation-induced functional K(+) channel impairment, and set the preclinical basis for the potential use of K(v)7 openers as a targeted anticonvulsant therapy to improve developmental outcome in neonates with K(V)7.2 encephalopathy.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of β-blockers (BB) in heart failure (HF) has been considered a contradiction for many years. Considering HF simply as a state of inadequate systolic function, BB were contraindicated because of their negative effects on myocardial contractility. Nevertheless, evidence collected in the past years have suggested that additional mechanisms, such as compensatory neuro-humoral hyperactivation or inflammation, could participate in the pathogenesis of this complex disease. Indeed, chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system, although initially compensating the reduced cardiac output from the failing heart, increases myocardial oxygen demand, ischemia and oxidative stress; moreover, high catecholamine levels induce peripheral vasoconstriction and increase both cardiac pre- and after-load, thus determining additional stress to the cardiac muscle (1). As a consequence of such a different view of the pathogenic mechanisms of HF, the efficacy of BB in the treatment of HF has been investigated in numerous clinical trials. Results from these trials highlighted BB as valid therapeutic tools in HF, providing rational basis for their inclusion in many HF treatment guidelines. However, controversy still exists about their use, in particular with regards to the selection of specific molecules, since BB differ in terms of adrenergic β-receptors selectivity, adjunctive effects on α-receptors, and effects on reactive oxygen species and inflammatory cytokines production. Further concerns about the heterogeneity in the response to BB, as well as the use in specific patients, are matter of debate among clinicians. In this review, we will recapitulate the pharmacological properties and the classification of BB, and the alteration of the adrenergic system occurring during HF that provide a rationale for their use; we will also focus on the possible molecular mechanisms, such as genetic polymorphisms, underlying the different efficacy of molecules belonging to this class.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in the expression of potassium (K(+)) channels is a pivotal event during skeletal muscle differentiation. In mouse C(2)C(12) cells, similarly to human skeletal muscle cells, myotube formation increased the expression of K(v)7.1, K(v)7.3, and K(v)7.4, the latter showing the highest degree of regulation. In C(2)C(12) cells, K(v)7.4 silencing by RNA interference reduced the expression levels of differentiation markers (myogenin, myosin heavy chain, troponinT-1 and Pax3), and impaired myotube formation and multi-nucleation. In K(v)7.4-silenced cells, the differentiation-promoting effect of the K(v)7 activator retigabine was abrogated. Expression levels for the repressor element-1 silencing transcription factor (REST) declined during myotube formation. Transcript levels for K(v)7.4, as well as for myogenin, troponinT-1 and Pax3, were reduced by REST overexpression, and enhanced upon REST suppression by RNA interference. Four regions containing potential REST-binding sites in the 5'UTR and in the first intron of the K(v)7.4 gene were identified by bioinformatic analysis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that REST binds to these regions, exhibiting a higher efficiency in myoblasts than in myotubes. These data suggest that K(v)7.4 plays a permissive role for skeletal muscle differentiation, and highlight REST as a crucial transcriptional regulator for this K(+) channel subunit.
Molecular biology of the cell 12/2012; · 5.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate (GLU) are involved in nociceptive signals processing in the trigeminal system. In this study, we investigated the influence of excitatory transmission on GABA release in nerve terminals isolated from the rat trigeminal caudal nucleus (TCN).
We utilize biochemical (superfused synaptosomes loaded with [(3) H]GABA) and morphological (immunofluorescence experiments with specific antibody) techniques.
Our results show that GLU potentiates the release of [(3) H]GABA evoked by 9, 15 and 30 mM [K(+)](e); 15 mM [K(+)](e)-evoked [(3) H]GABA release was also reinforced by domoate and kainate (KA), two naturally occurring GLU-receptor agonists. The enhancement of 15 mM [K(+)](e)-evoked [(3) H]GABA release produced by 100 μM KA was abolished by NBQX, a mixed AMPA/KA receptor antagonist, but was not affected by GYKI52466, a selective AMPA receptor antagonist. ATPA, a selective agonist for KA receptors containing the GLUK1 subunit, had no effect on depolarization-induced [(3) H]GABA release, and UBP310, which selectively antagonizes these same receptors, failed to reverse the KA-induced potentiation of 15 mM [K(+)](e)-evoked [(3) H]GABA release. The KA-induced potentiation was also unaffected by concanavalin A (10 μM), a positive allosteric modulator of GLUK1- and GLUK2-containing KA receptors. Immunofluorescence experiments revealed that GABAergic nerve terminals in the TCN differentially expressed GLUK subunits, with GLUK2/3-positive terminals being twice more abundant than GLUK1-containing synaptosomes.
These findings indicate that pre-synaptic KA receptors facilitating GABA release from TCN nerve terminals mainly express GLUK2/GLUK3 subunits, supporting the notion that different types of KA receptors are involved in the various stages of pain transmission.
European journal of pain (London, England) 03/2012; 16(8):1148-57. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Voltage-dependent type 7 K+ (KV7) channels play important physiological roles in neurons and muscle cells. The aims of the present study were to investigate the motor effects of KV7 channel modulators in the rat gastric fundus and the expression of KV7 channels in this tissue. Muscle tone and electrical field stimulation (EFS)-evoked relaxations of precontracted longitudinal muscle strips of the rat gastric fundus were investigated under nonadrenergic noncholinergic conditions by organ bath studies. Gene expression was studied by real-time PCR and tissue localization of channels was investigated by immunohistochemistry. The KV7 channel blocker XE-991 induced concentration-dependent contractions, with mean pD2 and Emax of 5.4 and 48% of the maximal U46619-induced contraction, respectively. The KV7 channel activators retigabine and flupirtine concentration-dependently relaxed U46619-precontracted strips, with pD2s of 4.7 and 4.4 and Emax of 93% and 91% of the maximal relaxation induced by papaverine, respectively. XE-991 concentration-dependently inhibited retigabine-induced relaxation with a pIC50 of 6.2. XE-991 and DMP-543, another KV7 channel blocker, increased by 13-25% or reduced by 11-21% the relaxations evoked by low- or high-frequency EFS, respectively. XE-991 also reduced the relaxation induced by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) by 33% of controls. Transcripts encoded by all KV7 genes were detected in the fundus, with 7.4 and 7.5 showing the highest expression levels. KV7.4 and 7.5 channels were visualized by confocal immunofluorescence in both circular and longitudinal muscle layers. In conclusion, in the rat proximal stomach, KV7 channels appear to contribute to the resting muscle tone and to VIP- and high-frequency EFS-induced relaxation. KV7 channel activators could be useful relaxant agents of the gastric smooth muscle.
Pharmacological Research 06/2011; 64(4):397-409. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying voltage-dependent gating in voltage-gated ion channels (VGICs) has been a major effort over the last decades. In recent years, changes in the gating process have emerged as common denominators for several genetically determined channelopathies affecting heart rhythm (arrhythmias), neuronal excitability (epilepsy, pain), or skeletal muscle contraction (periodic paralysis). Moreover, gating changes appear as the main molecular mechanism by which several natural toxins from a variety of species affect ion channel function. In this work, we describe the pathophysiological and pharmacological relevance of the gating process in voltage-gated K(+) channels encoded by the K(v)7 gene family. After reviewing the current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms and on the structural models of voltage-dependent gating in VGICs, we describe the physiological relevance of these channels, with particular emphasis on those formed by K(v)7.2-K(v)7.5 subunits having a well-established role in controlling neuronal excitability in humans. In fact, genetically determined alterations in K(v)7.2 and K(v)7.3 genes are responsible for benign familial neonatal convulsions, a rare seizure disorder affecting newborns, and the pharmacological activation of K(v)7.2/3 channels can exert antiepileptic activity in humans. Both mutation-triggered channel dysfunction and drug-induced channel activation can occur by impeding or facilitating, respectively, channel sensitivity to membrane voltage and can affect overlapping molecular sites within the voltage-sensing domain of these channels. Thus, understanding the molecular steps involved in voltage-sensing in K(v)7 channels will allow to better define the pathogenesis of rare human epilepsy, and to design innovative pharmacological strategies for the treatment of epilepsies and, possibly, other human diseases characterized by neuronal hyperexcitability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, by means of genetic, biochemical, morphological, and electrophysiological approaches, the role of large-conductance voltage- and Ca(2+)-dependent K(+) channels (BK channels) in the release of excitatory and non-excitatory neurotransmitters at hippocampal and non-hippocampal sites has been investigated. The results obtained show that the pharmacological modulation of pre-synaptic BK channels selectively regulates [(3)H]D-aspartate release from cortical and hippocampal rat synaptosomes, but it fails to influence the release of excitatory neurotransmitters from cerebellar nerve endings or that of [(3)H]GABA, [(3)H]Noradrenaline, or [(3)H]Dopamine from any of the brain regions investigated. Confocal immunofluorescence experiments in hippocampal or cerebrocortical nerve terminals revealed that the main pore-forming BK α subunit was more abundantly expressed in glutamatergic (vGLUT1(+)) versus GABAergic (GAD(65-67)(+)) nerve terminals. Double patch recordings in monosynaptically connected hippocampal neurons in culture confirmed a preferential control exerted by BK channels on glutamate over GABA release. Altogether, the present results highlight a high degree of specificity in the regulation of the release of various neurotransmitters from distinct brain regions by BK channels, supporting the concept that BK channel modulators can be used to selectively limit excessive excitatory amino acid release, a major pathogenetic mechanism in several neuropsychiatric disorders.
Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2010; 115(2):411-22. · 4.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in the expression of potassium channels regulate skeletal muscle development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression profile and pharmacological role of K(v)7 voltage-gated potassium channels in skeletal muscle differentiation, proliferation, and survival after myotoxic insults. Transcripts for all K(v)7 genes (K(v)7.1-K(v)7.5) were detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or real-time PCR in murine C(2)C(12) myoblasts; K(v)7.1, K(v)7.3, and K(v)7.4 transcripts were up-regulated after myotube formation. Western blot experiments confirmed K(v)7.2, K(v)7.3, and K(v)7.4 subunit expression, and the up-regulation of K(v)7.3 and K(v)7.4 subunits during in vitro differentiation. In adult skeletal muscles from mice and humans, K(v)7.2 and K(v)7.3 immunoreactivity was mainly localized at the level of intracellular striations positioned between ankyrinG-positive triads, whereas that of K(v)7.4 subunits was largely restricted to the sarcolemmal membrane. In C(2)C(12) cells, retigabine (10 microM), a specific activator of neuronally expressed K(v)7.2 to K(v)7.5 subunits, reduced proliferation, accelerated myogenin expression, and inhibited the myotoxic effect of mevastatin (IC(50) approximately 7 microM); all these effects of retigabine were prevented by the K(v)7 channel blocker 10,10-bis(4-pyridinylmethyl)-9(10H)-anthracenone (XE-991) (10 muM). These data collectively highlight neural K(v)7 channels as significant pharmacological targets to regulate skeletal muscle proliferation, differentiation, and myotoxic effects of drugs.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 03/2010; 332(3):811-20. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the availability of over 20 antiepileptic drugs, about 30% of epileptic patients do not achieve seizure control. Thus, identification of additional molecules targeting novel molecular mechanisms is a primary effort in today's antiepileptic drug research. This paper reviews the pharmacological development of retigabine, an antiepileptic drug with a novel mechanism of action, namely the activation of voltage-gated potassium channels of the Kv7 subfamily. These channels, which act as widespread regulators of intrinsic neuronal excitability and of neurotransmitter-induced network excitability changes, are currently viewed among the most promising targets for anticonvulsant pharmacotherapy. In particular, the present work reviews the pathophysiological role of Kv7 channels in neuronal function, the molecular mechanisms involved in the Kv7 channel-opening action of retigabine, the activity of retigabine in preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies predictive of anticonvulsant activities, and the clinical status of development for this drug as an add-on treatment for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Particular efforts are devoted to highlighting the potential advantages and disadvantages of retigabine when compared with currently available compounds, in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of its role in therapy for treatment-resistant epilepsies.
Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications 01/2010; 2:225-36.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the functional consequences of the pharmacological modulation of the M-current (IKM) on cytoplasmic Ca2+ intracellular Ca2+concentration ([Ca2+]i) changes and excitatory neurotransmitter release triggered by various stimuli from isolated rat cortical synaptosomes have been investigated. Kv7.2 immunoreactivity was identified in pre-synaptic elements in cortical slices and isolated glutamatergic cortical synaptosomes. In cerebrocortical synaptosomes exposed to 20 mM [K+]e, the IKM activator retigabine (RT, 10 μM) inhibited [3H]d-aspartate ([3H]d-Asp) release and caused membrane hyperpolarization; both these effects were prevented by the IKM blocker XE-991 (20 μM). The IKM activators RT (0.1–30 μM), flupirtine (10 μM) and BMS-204352 (10 μM) inhibited 20 mM [K+]e-induced synaptosomal [Ca2+]i increases; XE-991 (20 μM) abolished RT-induced inhibition of depolarization-triggered [Ca2+]i transients. The P/Q-type voltage-sensitive Ca2+channel (VSCC) blocker ω-agatoxin IVA prevented RT-induced inhibition of depolarization-induced [Ca2+]i increase and [3H]d-Asp release, whereas the N-type blocker ω-conotoxin GVIA failed to do so. Finally, 10 μM RT did not modify the increase of [Ca2+]i and the resulting enhancement of [3H]d-Asp release induced by [Ca2+]i mobilization from intracellular stores, or by store-operated Ca2+channel activation. Collectively, the present data reveal that the pharmacological activation of IKM regulates depolarization-induced [3H]d-Asp release from cerebrocortical synaptosomes by selectively controlling the changes of [Ca2+]i occurring through P/Q-type VSCCs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 subunits encode for the muscarinic-regulated current (I(KM)), a sub-threshold voltage-dependent K+ current regulating neuronal excitability. In this study, we have investigated the involvement of I(KM) in dopamine (DA) release from rat striatal synaptosomes evoked by elevated extracellular K+ concentrations ([K+]e) and by muscarinic receptor activation. [3H]dopamine ([3H]DA) release triggered by 9 mmol/L [K+]e was inhibited by the I(KM) activator retigabine (0.01-30 micromol/L; Emax = 54.80 +/- 3.85%; IC50 = 0.50 +/- 0.36 micromol/L). The I(KM) blockers tetraethylammonium (0.1-3 mmol/L) and XE-991 (0.1-30 micromol/L) enhanced K+-evoked [3H]DA release and prevented retigabine-induced inhibition of depolarization-evoked [3H]DA release. Retigabine-induced inhibition of K+-evoked [3H]DA release was also abolished by synaptosomal entrapment of blocking anti-KCNQ2 polyclonal antibodies, an effect prevented by antibody pre-absorption with the KCNQ2 immunizing peptide. Furthermore, the cholinergic agonist oxotremorine (OXO) (1-300 micromol/L) potentiated 9 mmol/L [K+]e-evoked [3H]DA release (Emax = 155 +/- 9.50%; EC50 = 25 +/- 1.80 micromol/L). OXO (100 micromol/L)-induced [3H]DA release enhancement was competitively inhibited by pirenzepine (1-10 nmol/L) and abolished by the M3-preferring antagonist 4-diphenylacetoxy N-methylpiperidine methiodide (1 micromol/L), but was unaffected by the M1-selective antagonist MT-7 (10-100 nmol/L) or by Pertussis toxin (1.5-3 microg/mL), which uncouples M2- and M4-mediated responses. Finally, OXO-induced potentiation of depolarization-induced [3H]DA release was not additive to that produced by XE-991 (10 micromol/L), was unaffected by retigabine (10 micromol/L), and was abolished by synaptosomal entrapment of anti-KCNQ2 antibodies. Collectively, these findings indicate that, in rat striatal nerve endings, I(KM) channels containing KCNQ2 subunits regulate depolarization-induced DA release and that I(KM) suppression is involved in the reinforcement of depolarization-induced DA release triggered by the activation of pre-synaptic muscarinic heteroreceptors.
Journal of Neurochemistry 08/2007; 102(1):179-93. · 4.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 K+ channel subunits underlie the muscarinic-regulated K+ current (I(KM)), a widespread regulator of neuronal excitability. Mutations in KCNQ2- or KCNQ3-encoding genes cause benign familiar neonatal convulsions (BFNCs), a rare autosomal-dominant idiopathic epilepsy of the newborn. In the present study, we have investigated, by means of electrophysiological, biochemical, and immunocytochemical techniques in transiently transfected cells, the consequences prompted by a BFNC-causing 1-bp deletion (2043deltaT) in the KCNQ2 gene; this frameshift mutation caused the substitution of the last 163 amino acids of the KCNQ2 C terminus and the extension of the subunit by additional 56 residues. The 2043deltaT mutation abolished voltage-gated K+ currents produced upon homomeric expression of KCNQ2 subunits, dramatically reduced the steady-state cellular levels of KCNQ2 subunits, and prevented their delivery to the plasma membrane. Metabolic labeling experiments revealed that mutant KCNQ2 subunits underwent faster degradation; 10-h treatment with the proteasomal inhibitor MG132 (20 microm) at least partially reversed such enhanced degradation. Co-expression with KCNQ3 subunits reduced the degradation rate of mutant KCNQ2 subunits and led to their expression on the plasma membrane. Finally, co-expression of KCNQ2 2043deltaT together with KCNQ3 subunits generated functional voltage-gated K+ currents having pharmacological and biophysical properties of heteromeric channels. Collectively, the present results suggest that mutation-induced reduced stability of KCNQ2 subunits may cause epilepsy in neonates.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2006; 281(1):418-28. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Benign familial neonatal convulsion (BFNC) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in KCNQ2 and KCNQ3, two genes encoding for potassium channel subunits. A large family with nine members affected by BFNC is described in the present study. All affected members of this family carry a novel deletion/insertion mutation in the KCNQ2 gene (c.761_770del10insA), which determines a premature truncation of the protein. In addition, in the family of the proposita's father, a novel sequence variant (c.2687A>G) in KCNQ3 leading to the p.N821S amino acid change was detected. When heterologously expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells, KCNQ2 subunits carrying the mutation failed to form functional potassium channels in homomeric configuration and did not affect channels formed by KCNQ2 and/or KCNQ3 subunits. On the other hand, homomeric and heteromeric potassium channels formed by KCNQ3 subunits carrying the p.N821S variant were indistinguishable from those formed by wild-type KCNQ3 subunits. Finally, the current density of the cells mimicking the double heterozygotic condition for both KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 alleles of the proband was decreased by approximately 25% when compared to cells expressing only wild-type alleles. Collectively, these results suggest that, in the family investigated, the KCNQ2 mutation is responsible for the BFNC phenotype, possibly because of haplo-insufficiency, whereas the KCNQ3 variant is functionally silent, a result compatible with its lack of segregation with the BFNC phenotype.