Thursday, January 5, 2023

GABRA1 mutations

Inspired by a patient

Nwosu G, Reddy SB, Riordan HRM, Kang JQ. Variable Expression of GABAA Receptor Subunit Gamma 2 Mutation in a Nuclear Family Displaying Developmental and Encephalopathic Phenotype. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Aug 26;23(17):9683. doi: 10.3390/ijms23179683. PMID: 36077081; PMCID: PMC9456057.


Mutations in GABAA receptor subunit genes (GABRs) are a major etiology for developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs). This article reports a case of a genetic abnormality in GABRG2 and updates the pathophysiology and treatment development for mutations in DEEs based on recent advances. Mutations in GABRs, especially in GABRA1GABRB2GABRB3, and GABRG2, impair GABAergic signaling and are frequently associated with DEEs such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, as GABAergic signaling is critical for early brain development. We here present a novel association of a microdeletion of GABRG2 with a diagnosed DEE phenotype. We characterized the clinical phenotype and underlying mechanisms, including molecular genetics, EEGs, and MRI. We then compiled an update of molecular mechanisms of GABR mutations, especially the mutations in GABRB3 and GABRG2 attributed to DEEs. Genetic therapy is also discussed as a new avenue for treatment of DEEs through employing antisense oligonucleotide techniques. There is an urgent need to define treatment targets and explore new treatment paradigms for the DEEs, as early deployment could alleviate long-term disabilities and improve quality of life for patients. This study highlights biomolecular targets for future therapeutic interventions, including via both pharmacological and genetic approaches.

Chen W, Ge Y, Lu J, Melo J, So YW, Juneja R, Liu L, Wang YT. Distinct Functional Alterations and Therapeutic Options of Two Pathological De Novo Variants of the T292 Residue of GABRA1 Identified in Children with Epileptic Encephalopathy and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 1;23(5):2723. doi: 10.3390/ijms23052723. PMID: 35269865; PMCID: PMC8911174.


Mutations of GABAAR have reportedly led to epileptic encephalopathy and neurodevelopmental disorders. We have identified a novel de novo T292S missense variant of GABRA1 from a pediatric patient with grievous global developmental delay but without obvious epileptic activity. This mutation coincidentally occurs at the same residue as that of a previously reported GABRA1 variant T292I identified from a pediatric patient with severe epilepsy. The distinct phenotypes of these two patients prompted us to compare the impacts of the two mutants on the receptor function and to search for suitable therapeutics. In this study, we used biochemical techniques and patch-clamp recordings in HEK293 cells overexpressing either wild-type or mutated rat recombinant GABAARs. We found that the α1T292S variant significantly increased GABA-evoked whole-cell currents, shifting the dose-response curve to the left without altering the maximal response. In contrast, the α1T292I variant significantly reduced GABA-evoked currents, shifting the dose-response curve to the right with a severely diminished maximum response. Single-channel recordings further revealed that the α1T292S variant increased, while the α1T292I variant decreased the GABAAR single-channel open time and open probability. Importantly, we found that the T292S mutation-induced increase in GABAAR function could be fully normalized by the negative GABAAR modulator thiocolchicoside, whereas the T292I mutation-induced impairment of GABAAR function was largely rescued with a combination of the GABAAR positive modulators diazepam and verapamil. Our study demonstrated that α1T292 is a critical residue for controlling GABAAR channel gating, and mutations at this residue may produce opposite impacts on the function of the receptors. Thus, the present work highlights the importance of functionally characterizing each individual GABAAR mutation for ensuring precision medicine.

Feng Y, Wei ZH, Liu C, Li GY, Qiao XZ, Gan YJ, Zhang CC, Deng YC. Genetic variations in GABA metabolism and epilepsy. Seizure. 2022 Oct;101:22-29. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2022.07.007. Epub 2022 Jul 15. PMID: 35850019.


Epilepsy is a paroxysmal brain disorder that results from an imbalance between neuronal excitation and inhibition. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and plays an important role in the occurrence and development of epilepsy. Abnormalities in all aspects of GABA metabolism, including GABA synthesis, transport, genes encoding GABA receptors, and GABA inactivation, may lead to epilepsy. GABRA1, GABRA2, GABRA5, GABRB1, GABRB2, GABRB3, GABRG2 and GABBR2 are genes that encode GABA receptors and are commonly associated with epilepsy. Mutations of these genes lead to a variety of epilepsy syndromes with different clinical phenotypes, primarily by down regulating receptor expression and reducing the amplitude of GABA-evoked potentials. GABA is metabolized by GABA transaminase and succinate semi aldehyde dehydrogenase, which are encoded by the ABAT and ALDH5A1 genes, respectively. Mutations of these genes result in symptoms related to deficiency of GABA transaminase and succinate semi aldehyde dehydrogenase, such as epilepsy and cognitive impairment. Most of the variation in genes associated with GABA metabolism are accompanied by developmental disorders. This review focuses on advances in understanding the relationship between genetic variation in GABA metabolism and epilepsy to establish a basis for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

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