Lethal digenic mutations in the K+ channels kir4.1 (KCNJ10) and SLACK (KCNT1) associated with severe-disabling seizures and neurodevelopmental delay

Sonia Hasan, Ameera Balobaid, Alessandro Grottesi, Omar Dabbagh, Marta Cenciarini, Rifaat Rawashdeh, Afaf Al-Sagheir, Cecilia Bove, Lara Macchioni, Mauro Pessia, Mohammed Al-Owain, Maria Cristina D’Adamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A 2-yr-old boy presented profound developmental delay, failure to thrive, ataxia, hypotonia, and tonic-clonic seizures that caused the death of the patient. Targeted and whole exome sequencing revealed two heterozygous missense variants: a novel mutation in the KCNJ10 gene that encodes for the inwardrectifying K+ channel Kir4.1 and another previously characterized mutation in KCNT1 that encodes for the Na+-activated K+ channel known as Slo2.2 or SLACK. The objectives of this study were to perform the clinical and genetic characterization of the proband and his family and to examine the functional consequence of the Kir4.1 mutation. The mutant and wild-type KCNJ10 constructs were generated and heterologously expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, and whole cell K+ currents were measured using the two-electrode voltage- clamp technique. The KCNJ10 mutation c.652C>T resulted in a p.L218F substitution at a highly conserved residue site. Wild-type KCNJ10 expression yielded robust Kir current, whereas currents from oocytes expressing the mutation were reduced, remarkably. Western Blot analysis revealed reduced protein expression by the mutation. Kir5.1 subunits display selective heteromultimerization with Kir4.1 constituting channels with unique kinetics. The effect of the mutation on Kir4.1/5.1 channel activity was twofold: a reduction in current amplitudes and an increase in the pH-dependent inhibition. We thus report a novel loss-of-function mutation in Kir4.1 found in a patient with a coexisting mutation in SLACK channels that results in a fatal disease. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We present and characterize a novel mutation in KCNJ10. Unlike previously reported EAST/SeSAME patients, our patient was heterozygous, and contrary to previous studies, mimicking the heterozygous state by coexpression resulted in loss of channel function. We report in the same patient co-occurrence of a KCNT1 mutation resulting in a more severe phenotype. This study provides new insights into the phenotypic spectrum and to the genotype- phenotype correlations associated with EAST/SeSAME and MMFSI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2402-2411
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetics
  • KCNJ10
  • Kir4.1
  • Mutation
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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