Pathogenic variants in KCNQ2 encoding for Kv7.2 potassium channel subunits have been found in patients affected by widely diverging epileptic phenotypes, ranging from Self-Limiting Familial Neonatal Epilepsy (SLFNE) to severe Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathy (DEE). Thus, understanding the pathogenic molecular mechanisms of KCNQ2 variants and their correlation with clinical phenotypes has a relevant impact on the clinical management of these patients. In the present study, the genetic, biochemical, and functional effects prompted by two variants, each found in a non-familial SLNE or a DEE patient but both affecting nucleotides at the KCNQ2 intron 6-exon 7 boundary, have been investigated to test whether and how they affected the splicing process and to clarify whether such mechanism might play a pathogenetic role in these patients. Analysis of KCNQ2 mRNA splicing in patient-derived lymphoblasts revealed that the SLNE-causing intronic variant (c.928-1G > C) impeded the use of the natural splice site, but lead to a 10-aa Kv7.2 in frame deletion (Kv7.2 p.G310Δ10); by contrast, the DEE-causing exonic variant (c.928G > A) only had subtle effects on the splicing process at this site, thus leading to the synthesis of a full-length subunit carrying the G310S missense variant (Kv7.2 p.G310S). Patch-clamp recordings in transiently-transfected CHO cells and primary neurons revealed that both variants fully impeded Kv7.2 channel function, and exerted strong dominant-negative effects when co-expressed with Kv7.2 and/or Kv7.3 subunits. Notably, Kv7.2 p.G310S, but not Kv7.2 p.G310Δ10, currents were recovered upon overexpression of the PIP2-synthesizing enzyme PIP5K, and/or CaM; moreover, currents from heteromeric Kv7.2/Kv7.3 channels incorporating either Kv7.2 mutant subunits were differentially regulated by changes in PIP2 availability, with Kv7.2/Kv7.2 G310S/Kv7.3 currents showing a greater sensitivity to PIP2 depletion when compared to those from Kv7.2/Kv7.2 G310Δ10/Kv7.3 channels. Altogether, these results suggest that the two variants investigated differentially affected the splicing process at the intron 6-exon 7 boundary, and led to the synthesis of Kv7.2 subunits showing a differential sensitivity to PIP2 and CaM regulation; more studies are needed to clarify how such different functional properties contribute to the widely-divergent clinical phenotypes.

Functional Characterization of Two Variants at the Intron 6-Exon 7 Boundary of the KCNQ2 Potassium Channel Gene Causing Distinct Epileptic Phenotypes

Taglialatela, Maurizio
2022

Abstract

Pathogenic variants in KCNQ2 encoding for Kv7.2 potassium channel subunits have been found in patients affected by widely diverging epileptic phenotypes, ranging from Self-Limiting Familial Neonatal Epilepsy (SLFNE) to severe Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathy (DEE). Thus, understanding the pathogenic molecular mechanisms of KCNQ2 variants and their correlation with clinical phenotypes has a relevant impact on the clinical management of these patients. In the present study, the genetic, biochemical, and functional effects prompted by two variants, each found in a non-familial SLNE or a DEE patient but both affecting nucleotides at the KCNQ2 intron 6-exon 7 boundary, have been investigated to test whether and how they affected the splicing process and to clarify whether such mechanism might play a pathogenetic role in these patients. Analysis of KCNQ2 mRNA splicing in patient-derived lymphoblasts revealed that the SLNE-causing intronic variant (c.928-1G > C) impeded the use of the natural splice site, but lead to a 10-aa Kv7.2 in frame deletion (Kv7.2 p.G310Δ10); by contrast, the DEE-causing exonic variant (c.928G > A) only had subtle effects on the splicing process at this site, thus leading to the synthesis of a full-length subunit carrying the G310S missense variant (Kv7.2 p.G310S). Patch-clamp recordings in transiently-transfected CHO cells and primary neurons revealed that both variants fully impeded Kv7.2 channel function, and exerted strong dominant-negative effects when co-expressed with Kv7.2 and/or Kv7.3 subunits. Notably, Kv7.2 p.G310S, but not Kv7.2 p.G310Δ10, currents were recovered upon overexpression of the PIP2-synthesizing enzyme PIP5K, and/or CaM; moreover, currents from heteromeric Kv7.2/Kv7.3 channels incorporating either Kv7.2 mutant subunits were differentially regulated by changes in PIP2 availability, with Kv7.2/Kv7.2 G310S/Kv7.3 currents showing a greater sensitivity to PIP2 depletion when compared to those from Kv7.2/Kv7.2 G310Δ10/Kv7.3 channels. Altogether, these results suggest that the two variants investigated differentially affected the splicing process at the intron 6-exon 7 boundary, and led to the synthesis of Kv7.2 subunits showing a differential sensitivity to PIP2 and CaM regulation; more studies are needed to clarify how such different functional properties contribute to the widely-divergent clinical phenotypes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/900594
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