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      Investigating the Complex Arrhythmic Phenotype Caused by the Gain-of-Function Mutation KCNQ1-G229D

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          Abstract

          The congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac electrophysiological disorder that can cause sudden cardiac death. LQT1 is a subtype of LQTS caused by mutations in KCNQ1, affecting the slow delayed-rectifier potassium current ( I Ks), which is essential for cardiac repolarization. Paradoxically, gain-of-function mutations in KCNQ1 have been reported to cause borderline QT prolongation, atrial fibrillation (AF), sinus bradycardia, and sudden death, however, the mechanisms are not well understood. The goal of the study is to investigate the ionic, cellular and tissue mechanisms underlying the complex phenotype of a gain-of-function mutation in KCNQ1, c.686G > A (p.G229D) using computer modeling and simulations informed by in vitro measurements. Previous studies have shown this mutation to cause AF and borderline QT prolongation. We report a clinical description of a family that carry this mutation and that a member of the family died suddenly during sleep at 21 years old. Using patch-clamp experiments, we confirm that KCNQ1-G229D causes a significant gain in channel function. We introduce the effect of the mutation in populations of atrial, ventricular and sinus node (SN) cell models to investigate mechanisms underlying phenotypic variability. In a population of human atrial and ventricular cell models and tissue, the presence of KCNQ1-G229D predominantly shortens atrial action potential duration (APD). However, in a subset of models, KCNQ1-G229D can act to prolong ventricular APD by up to 7% (19 ms) and underlie depolarization abnormalities, which could promote QT prolongation and conduction delays. Interestingly, APD prolongations were predominantly seen at slow pacing cycle lengths (CL > 1,000 ms), which suggests a greater arrhythmic risk during bradycardia, and is consistent with the observed sudden death during sleep. In a population of human SN cell models, the KCNQ1-G229D mutation results in slow/abnormal sinus rhythm, and we identify that a stronger L-type calcium current enables the SN to be more robust to the mutation. In conclusion, our computational modeling experiments provide novel mechanistic explanations for the observed borderline QT prolongation, and predict that KCNQ1-G229D could underlie SN dysfunction and conduction delays. The mechanisms revealed in the study can potentially inform management and treatment of KCNQ1 gain-of-function mutation carriers.

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          Most cited references 27

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          KCNQ1 gain-of-function mutation in familial atrial fibrillation.

          Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia whose molecular etiology is poorly understood. We studied a family with hereditary persistent AF and identified the causative mutation (S140G) in the KCNQ1 (KvLQT1) gene on chromosome 11p15.5. The KCNQ1 gene encodes the pore-forming alpha subunit of the cardiac I(Ks) channel (KCNQ1/KCNE1), the KCNQ1/KCNE2 and the KCNQ1/KCNE3 potassium channels. Functional analysis of the S140G mutant revealed a gain-of-function effect on the KCNQ1/KCNE1 and the KCNQ1/KCNE2 currents, which contrasts with the dominant negative or loss-of-function effects of the KCNQ1 mutations previously identified in patients with long QT syndrome. Thus, the S140G mutation is likely to initiate and maintain AF by reducing action potential duration and effective refractory period in atrial myocytes.
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            Mutation in the KCNQ1 gene leading to the short QT-interval syndrome.

            The electrocardiographic short QT-interval syndrome forms a distinct clinical entity presenting with a high rate of sudden death and exceptionally short QT intervals. The disorder has recently been linked to gain-of-function mutation in KCNH2. The present study demonstrates that this disorder is genetically heterogeneous and can also be caused by mutation in the KCNQ1 gene. A 70-year man presented with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. Both immediately after the episode and much later, his QT interval was abnormally short without any other physical or electrophysiological anomalies. Analysis of candidate genes identified a g919c substitution in KCNQ1 encoding the K+ channel KvLQT1. Functional studies of the KvLQT1 V307L mutant (alone or coexpressed with the wild-type channel, in the presence of IsK) revealed a pronounced shift of the half-activation potential and an acceleration of the activation kinetics leading to a gain of function in I(Ks). When introduced in a human action potential computer model, the modified biophysical parameters predicted repolarization shortening. We present an alternative molecular mechanism for the short QT-interval syndrome. Functional and computational studies of the KCNQ1 V307L mutation identified in a patient with this disorder favor the association of short QT with mutation in KCNQ1.
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              De novo KCNQ1 mutation responsible for atrial fibrillation and short QT syndrome in utero.

              We describe a genetic basis for atrial fibrillation and short QT syndrome in utero. Heterologous expression of the mutant channel was used to define the physiological consequences of the mutation. A baby girl was born at 38 weeks after induction of delivery that was prompted by bradycardia and irregular rythm. ECG revealed atrial fibrillation with slow ventricular response and short QT interval. Genetic analysis identified a de novo missense mutation in the potassium channel KCNQ1 (V141M). To characterize the physiological consequences of the V141M mutation, Xenopus laevis oocytes were injected with cRNA encoding wild-type (wt) KCNQ1 or mutant V141M KCNQ1 subunits, with or without KCNE1. Ionic currents were recorded using standard two-microelectrode voltage clamp techniques. In the absence of KCNE1, wtKCNQ1 and V141M KCNQ1 currents had similar biophysical properties. Coexpression of wtKCNQ1+KCNE1 subunits induced the typical slowly activating and voltage-dependent delayed rectifier K(+) current, I(Ks). In contrast, oocytes injected with cRNA encoding V141M KCNQ1+KCNE1 subunits exhibited an instantaneous and voltage-independent K(+)-selective current. Coexpression of V141M and wtKCNQ1 with KCNE1 induced a current with intermediate biophysical properties. Computer modeling showed that the mutation would shorten action potential duration of human ventricular myocytes and abolish pacemaker activity of the sinoatrial node. The description of a novel, de novo gain of function mutation in KCNQ1, responsible for atrial fibrillation and short QT syndrome in utero indicates that some of these cases may have a genetic basis and confirms a previous hypothesis that gain of function mutations in KCNQ1 channels can shorten the duration of ventricular and atrial action potentials.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Physiol
                Front Physiol
                Front. Physiol.
                Frontiers in Physiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-042X
                18 March 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                1Department of Computer Science, British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, University of Oxford , Oxford, United Kingdom
                2St Bartholomew’s Hospital , London, United Kingdom
                3Department of Stem Cell Biology, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham , Nottingham, United Kingdom
                4Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane, QLD, Australia
                5School of Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane, QLD, Australia
                6The William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London , London, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Edited by: Javier Saiz, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain

                Reviewed by: Arun V. Holden, University of Leeds, United Kingdom; Jieyun Bai, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

                *Correspondence: Blanca Rodriguez, blanca.rodriguez@ 123456cs.ox.ac.uk Stephen C. Harmer, s.c.harmer@ 123456bristol.ac.uk

                Present address: Stephen C. Harmer, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

                This article was submitted to Computational Physiology and Medicine, a section of the journal Frontiers in Physiology

                Article
                10.3389/fphys.2019.00259
                6430739
                Copyright © 2019 Zhou, Bueno-Orovio, Schilling, Kirkby, Denning, Rajamohan, Burrage, Tinker, Rodriguez and Harmer.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 45, Pages: 14, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust 10.13039/100010269
                Categories
                Physiology
                Original Research

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