GAT-1, encoded by SLC6A1, is one of the major gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporters in the brain and is responsible for re-uptake of GABA from the synapse. In this study, targeted resequencing of 644 individuals with epileptic encephalopathies led to the identification of six SLC6A1 mutations in seven individuals, all of whom have epilepsy with myoclonic-atonic seizures (MAE). We describe two truncations and four missense alterations, all of which most likely lead to loss of function of GAT-1 and thus reduced GABA re-uptake from the synapse. These individuals share many of the electrophysiological properties of Gat1-deficient mice, including spontaneous spike-wave discharges. Overall, pathogenic mutations occurred in 6/160 individuals with MAE, accounting for similar to 4% of unsolved MAE cases.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder, and mutations in genes encoding ion channels or neurotransmitter receptors are frequent causes of monogenic forms of epilepsy. Here we show that abnormal expansions of TTTCA and TTTTA repeats in intron 4 of SAMD12 cause benign adult familial myoclonic epilepsy (BAFME). Single-molecule, real-time sequencing of BAC clones and nanopore sequencing of genomic DNA identified two repeat configurations in SAMD12. Intriguingly, in two families with a clinical diagnosis of BAFME in which no repeat expansions in SAMD12 were observed, we identified similar expansions of TTTCA and TTTTA repeats in introns of TNRC6A and RAPGEF2, indicating that expansions of the same repeat motifs are involved in the pathogenesis of BAFME regardless of the genes in which the expanded repeats are located. This discovery that expansions of noncoding repeats lead to neuronal dysfunction responsible for myoclonic tremor and epilepsy extends the understanding of diseases with such repeat expansion.
Dravet syndrome is a severe epilepsy syndrome characterized by infantile onset of therapy-resistant, fever-sensitive seizures followed by cognitive decline. Mutations in SCN1A explain about 75% of cases with Dravet syndrome; 90% of these mutations arise de novo. We studied a cohort of nine Dravet-syndrome-affected individuals without an SCN1A mutation (these included some atypical cases with onset at up to 2 years of age) by using whole-exome sequencing in proband-parent trios. In two individuals, we identified a de novo loss-of-function mutation in CHD2 (encoding chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 2). A third CHD2 mutation was identified in an epileptic proband of a second (stage 2) cohort. All three individuals with a CHD2 mutation had intellectual disability and fever-sensitive generalized seizures, as well as prominent myoclonic seizures starting in the second year of life or later. To explore the functional relevance of CHD2 haploinsufficiency in an in vivo model system, we knocked down chd2 in zebrafish by using targeted morpholino antisense oligomers. chd2-knockdown larvae exhibited altered locomotor activity, and the epileptic nature of this seizure-like behavior was confirmed by field-potential recordings that revealed epileptiform discharges similar to seizures in affected persons. Both altered locomotor activity and epileptiform discharges were absent in appropriate control larvae. Our study provides evidence that de novo loss-of-function mutations in CHD2 are a cause of epileptic encephalopathy with generalized seizures.
Noncoding expanded repeats have been implicated in a wide range of diseases. A new report uncovers expanded TTTCA and TTTTA repeats in an intronic region of SAMD12, and at least two other genes, in individuals with benign adult familial myoclonic epilepsy.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (Na-V) are critical for initiation of action potentials. Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in Na(V)1.1 channels cause severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy (SMEI). Homozygous null Scn1a(-/-) mice developed ataxia and died on postnatal day (P) 15 but could be sustained to P17.5 with manual feeding. Heterozygous Scn1a(+/-) mice had spontaneous seizures and sporadic deaths beginning after P21, with a notable dependence on genetic background. Loss of Na(V)1.1 did not change voltage-dependent activation or inactivation of sodium channels in hippocampal neurons. The sodium current density was, however, substantially reduced in inhibitory interneurons of Scn1a(+/-) and Scn1a(-/-) mice but not in their excitatory pyramidal neurons. An immunocytochemical survey also showed a specific upregulation of Na(V)1.3 channels in a subset of hippocampal interneurons. Our results indicate that reduced sodium currents in GABAergic inhibitory interneurons in Scn1a(+/-) heterozygotes may cause the hyperexcitability that leads to epilepsy in patients with SMEI.
Progressive myoclonus epilepsy of the Lafora type or Lafora disease (EPM2; McKusick no. 254780) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by epilepsy, myoclonus, progressive neurological deterioration and glycogen-like intracellular inclusion bodies (Lafora bodies). A gene for EPM2 previously has been mapped to chromosome 6q23-q25 using linkage analysis and homozygosity mapping. Here we report the positional cloning of the 6q EPM2 gene. A microdeletion within the EPM2 critical region, present in homozygosis in an affected individual, was found to disrupt a novel gene encoding a putative protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTPase). The gene, denoted EPM2,presents alternative splicing in the 5' and 3' end regions. Mutational analysis revealed that EPM2 patients are homozygous for loss-of-function mutations in EPM2. These findings suggest that Lafora disease results from the mutational inactivation of a PTPase activity that may be important in the control of glycogen metabolism.
Severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI) is a rare disorder that occurs in isolated patients. The disease is characterized by generalized tonic, clonic, and tonic-clonic seizures that are initially induced by fever and begin during the first year of life. Later, patients also manifest other seizure types, including absence, myoclonic, and simple and complex partial seizures. Psychomotor development stagnates around the second year of life. Missense mutations in the gene that codes for a neuronal voltage-gated sodium-channel alpha -subunit (SCN1A) were identified in families with generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). GEFS+ is a mild type of epilepsy associated with febrile and afebrile seizures. Because both GEFS+ and SMEI involve fever-associated seizures, we screened seven unrelated patients with SMEI for mutations in SCN1A. We identified a mutation in each patient: four had frameshift mutations, one had a nonsense mutation, one had a splice-donor mutation, and one had a missense mutation. All mutations are de novo mutations and were not observed in 184 control chromosomes.
The nucleotide sequence analysis of mitochondrial DNA fragment of 440 bp (from 8123 to 8563 bp) with the MT‐TK gene sequence in the central region showed three point mutations including 8313G>C, 8306T>C, and 8362T>G. The mutation 8306T>C is new to literature, the other two have been reported but with reference to other diseases. The mutations identified in this study indicate the combination of normal and mutated mitochondrial DNA species in the patients indicating a heteroplasmic condition.
Haploinsufficiency of the SCN1A gene encoding voltage-gated sodium channel Na(V)1.1 causes Dravet's syndrome, a childhood neuropsychiatric disorder including recurrent intractable seizures, cognitive deficit and autism-spectrum behaviours. The neural mechanisms responsible for cognitive deficit and autism-spectrum behaviours in Dravet's syndrome are poorly understood. Here we report that mice with Scn1a haploinsufficiency exhibit hyperactivity, stereotyped behaviours, social interaction deficits and impaired context-dependent spatial memory. Olfactory sensitivity is retained, but novel food odours and social odours are aversive to Scn1a(+/-) mice. GABAergic neurotransmission is specifically impaired by this mutation, and selective deletion of Na(V)1.1 channels in forebrain interneurons is sufficient to cause these behavioural and cognitive impairments. Remarkably, treatment with low-dose clonazepam, a positive allosteric modulator of GABA(A) receptors, completely rescued the abnormal social behaviours and deficits in fear memory in the mouse model of Dravet's syndrome, demonstrating that they are caused by impaired GABAergic neurotransmission and not by neuronal damage from recurrent seizures. These results demonstrate a critical role for Na(V)1.1 channels in neuropsychiatric functions and provide a potential therapeutic strategy for cognitive deficit and autism-spectrum behaviours in Dravet's syndrome.
The SLC2A1 gene encodes glucose transporter 1 on blood-brain barrier, which plays an important role in the energy supply for neurons. Mutations in SLC2A1 gene can cause many clinical syndromes, including glucose transporter type 1 deficiency syndrome and many types of epilepsy syndromes such as childhood absence epilepsy and myoclonic-atonic epilepsy, etc. Ketogenic diet has been proved to be very effective on those cases. Clinically, SLC2A1 gene mutations are quite rare. Repeated unconsciousness and bilateral limb weakness lasted for 3 years. Myoclonic-atonic epilepsy. After taking whole exome sequencing, we found out that there is a de novo insertion mutation in the patient's SLC2A1 gene, leading to frameshift. As a result, ketogenic diet (2:1, 4 times a day) was used as the treatment. As for the patient, total calories intake per day was controlled at 1190 kcal. The calories per kg per day were 66.11 kcal/kg. The amount of ketone bodies was controlled at 2 to 3 mmol/L and the concentration of plasma glucose was controlled at 4 to 5 mmol/L. After the launch of ketogenic diet, the patient has been seizure free for nearly a year and stopped all his antiepileptic drugs. Our case suggests that gene examination is very important part of the diagnosis of epilepsy etiology and epilepsy syndromes. Ketogenic diet should be considered as the first line therapy with SLC2A1 gene mutations.