Functional genomics of epilepsy-associated mutations in the GABAA receptor subunits reveal that one mutation impairs function and two are catastrophic.

Related Articles

Functional genomics of epilepsy-associated mutations in the GABAA receptor subunits reveal that one mutation impairs function and two are catastrophic.

J Biol Chem. 2019 Feb 06;:

Authors: Absalom NL, Ahring PK, Liao VM, Balle T, Jiang T, Anderson LL, Arnold JC, McGregor IS, Bowen MT, Chebib M

Abstract
A number of epilepsy-causing mutations have recently been identified in the genes of the α1, β3, and γ2 subunits comprising the γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor. These mutations are typically dominant, and in certain cases such as the α1 and β3 subunits, they may lead to a mix of receptors at the cell surface that contain no mutant subunits, a single mutated subunit, or two mutated subunits. To determine the effects of mutations in a single subunit or in two subunits on receptor activation, we created a concatenated protein assembly that links all five subunits of the α1β3γ2 receptor and expresses them in the correct orientation. We created nine separate receptor variants with a single-mutant subunit and four receptors containing two subunits of the γ2R323Q, β3D120N, β3T157M, β3Y302C and β3S254F epilepsy-causing mutations. We found that the single-mutated γ2R323Q subunit impairs GABA activation of the receptor by reducing GABA potency. A single β3D120N, β3T157M, or β3Y302C mutation also substantially impaired receptor activation, and two copies of these mutants within a receptor were catastrophic. Of note, an effect of the β3S254F mutation on GABA potency was dependent on the location of this mutant subunit within the receptor, possibly because of the membrane environment surrounding the transmembrane region of the receptor. Our results highlight that precise functional genomic analyses of GABAA receptor mutations using concatenated constructs can identify receptors with an intermediate phenotype that contribute to epileptic phenotypes and that are potential drug targets for precision medicine approaches.

PMID: 30728247 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]