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OBJECTIVE: To test whether mutations in γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor (GABAA -R) subunit genes contribute to the etiology of rolandic epilepsy (RE) or its atypical variants (ARE). METHODS: We performed exome sequencing to compare the frequency of variants in 18 GABAA -R genes in 204 European patients with RE/ARE versus 728 platform-matched controls. Identified GABRG2 variants were functionally assessed for protein stability, trafficking, postsynaptic clustering, and receptor function. RESULTS: Of 18 screened GABAA -R genes, we detected an enrichment of rare variants in the GABRG2 gene in RE/ARE patients (5 of 204, 2.45%) in comparison to controls (1 of 723, 0.14%; odds ratio = 18.07, 95% confidence interval = 2.01-855.07, p = 0.0024, pcorr  = 0.043). We identified a GABRG2 splice variant (c.549-3T>G) in 2 unrelated patients as well as 3 nonsynonymous variations in this gene (p.G257R, p.R323Q, p.I389V). Functional assessment showed reduced surface expression of p.G257R and decreased GABA-evoked currents for p.R323Q. The p.G257R mutation displayed diminished levels of palmitoylation, a post-translational modification crucial for trafficking of proteins to the cell membrane. Enzymatically raised palmitoylation levels restored the surface expression of the p.G257R variant γ2 subunit. INTERPRETATION: The statistical association and the functional evidence suggest that mutations of the GABRG2 gene may increase the risk of RE/ARE. Restoring the impaired membrane trafficking of some GABRG2 mutations by enhancing palmitoylation might be an interesting therapeutic approach to reverse the pathogenic effect of such mutants.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/ana.24395

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ann Neurol

Publication Date

06/2015

Volume

77

Pages

972 - 986

Keywords

Epilepsy, Rolandic, European Continental Ancestry Group, Exome, Female, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, Lipoylation, Male, Mutation, Pedigree, Receptors, GABA-A, Syndrome