Partial loss-of-function of sodium channel SCN8A in familial isolated myoclonus.
ABSTRACT: Variants in the neuronal sodium channel gene SCN8A have been implicated in several neurological disorders. Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy type 13 results from de novo gain-of-function mutations that alter the biophysical properties of the channel. Complete loss-of-function variants of SCN8A have been identified in cases of isolated intellectual disability. We now report a novel heterozygous SCN8A variant, p.Pro1719Arg, in a small pedigree with five family members affected with autosomal dominant upper limb isolated myoclonus without seizures or cognitive impairment. Functional analysis of the p.Pro1719Arg variant in transfected neuron-derived cells demonstrated greatly reduced Nav 1.6 channel activity without altered gating properties. Hypomorphic alleles of Scn8a in the mouse are known to result in similar movement disorders. This study expands the phenotypic and functional spectrum of SCN8A variants to include inherited nonepileptic isolated myoclonus. SCN8A can be considered as a candidate gene for isolated movement disorders without seizures.
Project description:SCN8A encodes the sodium channel voltage-gated ?8-subunit (Nav1.6). SCN8A mutations have recently been associated with epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders. We aimed to delineate the phenotype associated with SCN8A mutations.We used high-throughput sequence analysis of the SCN8A gene in 683 patients with a range of epileptic encephalopathies. In addition, we ascertained cases with SCN8A mutations from other centers. A detailed clinical history was obtained together with a review of EEG and imaging data.Seventeen patients with de novo heterozygous mutations of SCN8A were studied. Seizure onset occurred at a mean age of 5 months (range: 1 day to 18 months); in general, seizures were not triggered by fever. Fifteen of 17 patients had multiple seizure types including focal, tonic, clonic, myoclonic and absence seizures, and epileptic spasms; seizures were refractory to antiepileptic therapy. Development was normal in 12 patients and slowed after seizure onset, often with regression; 5 patients had delayed development from birth. All patients developed intellectual disability, ranging from mild to severe. Motor manifestations were prominent including hypotonia, dystonia, hyperreflexia, and ataxia. EEG findings comprised moderate to severe background slowing with focal or multifocal epileptiform discharges.SCN8A encephalopathy presents in infancy with multiple seizure types including focal seizures and spasms in some cases. Outcome is often poor and includes hypotonia and movement disorders. The majority of mutations arise de novo, although we observed a single case of somatic mosaicism in an unaffected parent.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To determine the functional effect of SCN8A missense mutations in 2 children with intellectual disability and developmental delay but no seizures. METHODS:Genomic DNA was analyzed by next-generation sequencing. SCN8A variants were introduced into the Nav1.6 complementary DNA by site-directed mutagenesis. Channel activity was measured electrophysiologically in transfected ND7/23 cells. The stability of the mutant channels was assessed by Western blot. RESULTS:Both children were heterozygous for novel missense variants that altered conserved residues in transmembrane segments of Nav1.6, p.Gly964Arg in D2S6 and p.Glu1218Lys in D3S1. Both altered amino acids are evolutionarily conserved in vertebrate and invertebrate channels and are predicted to be deleterious. Neither was observed in the general population. Both variants completely prevented the generation of sodium currents in transfected cells. The abundance of Nav1.6 protein was reduced by the Glu1218Lys substitution. CONCLUSIONS:Haploinsufficiency of SCN8A is associated with cognitive impairment. These observations extend the phenotypic spectrum of SCN8A mutations beyond their established role in epileptic encephalopathy (OMIM#614558) and other seizure disorders. SCN8A should be considered as a candidate gene for intellectual disability, regardless of seizure status.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>SCN8A encephalopathy is a developmental epileptic encephalopathy typically caused by de novo gain-of-function mutations in Na<sub>v</sub> 1.6. Severely affected individuals exhibit refractory seizures, developmental delay, cognitive disabilities, movement disorders, and elevated risk of sudden death. Patients with the identical SCN8A variant can differ in clinical course, suggesting a role for modifier genes in determining disease severity. The identification of genetic modifiers contributes to understanding disease pathogenesis and suggesting therapeutic interventions.<h4>Methods</h4>We generated F1 and F2 crosses between inbred mouse strains and mice carrying the human pathogenic variants SCN8A-R1872W and SCN8A-N1768D. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of seizure-related phenotypes was used for chromosomal mapping of modifier loci.<h4>Results</h4>In an F2 cross between strain SJL/J and C57BL/6J mice carrying the patient mutation R1872W, we identified a major QTL on chromosome 5 containing the Gabra2 gene. Strain C57BL/6J carries a splice site mutation that reduces expression of Gabra2, encoding the ?2 subunit of the aminobutyric acid type A receptor. The protective wild-type allele of Gabra2 from strain SJL/J delays the age at seizure onset and extends life span of the Scn8a mutant mice. Additional Scn8a modifiers were observed in the F2 cross and in an F1 cross with strain C3HeB/FeJ.<h4>Significance</h4>These studies demonstrate that the SJL/J strain carries multiple modifiers with protective effects against seizures induced by gain-of-function mutations in Scn8a. Homozygosity for the hypomorphic variant of Gabra2 in strain C57BL/6J is associated with early seizure onset and short life span. GABRA2 is a potential therapeutic target for SCN8A encephalopathy.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:SCN8A encephalopathy is a developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) caused by de novo gain-of-function mutations of sodium channel Nav 1.6 that result in neuronal hyperactivity. Affected individuals exhibit early onset drug-resistant seizures, developmental delay, and cognitive impairment. This study was carried out to determine whether reducing the abundance of the Scn8a transcript with an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) would delay seizure onset and prolong survival in a mouse model of SCN8A encephalopathy. METHODS:ASO treatment was tested in a conditional mouse model with Cre-dependent expression of the pathogenic patient SCN8A mutation p.Arg1872Trp (R1872W). This model exhibits early onset of seizures, rapid progression, and 100% penetrance. An Scn1a +/- haploinsufficient mouse model of Dravet syndrome was also treated. ASO was administered by intracerebroventricular injection at postnatal day 2, followed in some cases by stereotactic injection at postnatal day 30. RESULTS:We observed a dose-dependent increase in length of survival from 15 to 65?days in the Scn8a-R1872W/+ mice treated with ASO. Electroencephalographic recordings were normal prior to seizure onset. Weight gain and activity in an open field were unaffected, but treated mice were less active in a wheel running assay. A single treatment with Scn8a ASO extended survival of Dravet syndrome mice from 3?weeks to >5 months. INTERPRETATION:Reduction of Scn8a transcript by 25 to 50% delayed seizure onset and lethality in mouse models of SCN8A encephalopathy and Dravet syndrome. Reduction of SCN8A transcript is a promising approach to treatment of intractable childhood epilepsies. Ann Neurol 2020;87:339-346.
Project description:De novo mutations of the sodium channel gene SCN8A result in an epileptic encephalopathy with refractory seizures, developmental delay, and elevated risk of sudden death. p.Arg1872Trp is a recurrent de novo SCN8A mutation reported in 14 unrelated individuals with epileptic encephalopathy that included seizure onset in the prenatal or infantile period and severe verbal and ambulatory comorbidities. The major biophysical effect of the mutation was previously shown to be impaired channel inactivation accompanied by increased current density. We have generated a conditional mouse mutation in which expression of this severe gain-of-function mutation is dependent upon Cre recombinase. Global activation of p.Arg1872Trp by EIIa-Cre resulted in convulsive seizures and lethality at 2 weeks of age. Neural activation of the p.Arg1872Trp mutation by Nestin-Cre also resulted in early onset seizures and death. Restriction of p.Arg1872Trp expression to excitatory neurons using Emx1-Cre recapitulated seizures and juvenile lethality between 1 and 2 months of age. In contrast, activation of p.Arg1872Trp in inhibitory neurons by Gad2-Cre or Dlx5/6-Cre did not induce seizures or overt neurological dysfunction. The sodium channel modulator GS967/Prax330 prolonged survival of mice with global expression of R1872W and also modulated the activity of the mutant channel in transfected cells. Activation of the p.Arg1872Trp mutation in adult mice was sufficient to generate seizures and death, indicating that successful therapy will require lifelong treatment. These findings provide insight into the pathogenic mechanism of this gain-of-function mutation of SCN8A and identify excitatory neurons as critical targets for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:De novo mutations of the voltage-gated sodium channel gene SCN8A have recently been recognized as a cause of epileptic encephalopathy, which is characterized by refractory seizures with developmental delay and cognitive disability. We previously described the heterozygous SCN8A missense mutation p.Asn1768Asp in a child with epileptic encephalopathy that included seizures, ataxia, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). The mutation results in increased persistent sodium current and hyperactivity of transfected neurons. We have characterized a knock-in mouse model expressing this dominant gain-of-function mutation to investigate the pathology of the altered channel in vivo. The mutant channel protein is stable in vivo. Heterozygous Scn8a(N1768D/+) mice exhibit seizures and SUDEP, confirming the causality of the de novo mutation in the proband. Using video/EEG analysis, we detect ictal discharges that coincide with convulsive seizures and myoclonic jerks. Prior to seizure onset, heterozygous mutants are not defective in motor learning or fear conditioning, but do exhibit mild impairment of motor coordination and social discrimination. Homozygous mutant mice exhibit earlier seizure onset than heterozygotes and more rapid progression to death. Analysis of the intermediate phenotype of functionally hemizygous Scn8a(N1768D/-) mice indicates that severity is increased by a double dose of mutant protein and reduced by the presence of wild-type protein. Scn8a(N1768D) mutant mice provide a model of epileptic encephalopathy that will be valuable for studying the in vivo effects of hyperactive Nav1.6 and the response to therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Mutations of the voltage-gated sodium channel SCN8A have been identified in approximately 1% of nearly 1,500 children with early-infantile epileptic encephalopathies (EIEE) who have been tested by DNA sequencing. EIEE caused by mutation of SCN8A is designated EIEE13 (OMIM #614558). Affected children have seizure onset before 18 months of age as well as developmental and cognitive disabilities, movement disorders, and a high incidence of sudden death (SUDEP). EIEE13 is caused by de novo missense mutations of evolutionarily conserved residues in the Nav1.6 channel protein. One-third of the mutations are recurrent, and many occur at CpG dinucleotides. In this review, we discuss the effect of pathogenic mutations on the structure of the channel protein, the rate of recurrent mutation, and changes in channel function underlying this devastating disorder.
Project description:Mutations in SCN8A are associated with epilepsy and intellectual disability. SCN8A encodes for sodium channel Nav1.6, which is located in the brain. Gain-of-function missense mutations in SCN8A are thought to lead to increased firing of excitatory neurons containing Nav1.6, and therefore to lead to increased seizure susceptibility. We hypothesized that sodium channel blockers could have a beneficial effect in patients with SCN8A-related epilepsy by blocking the overactive Nav1.6 and thereby counteracting the effect of the mutation. Herein, we describe 4 patients with a missense SCN8A mutation and epilepsy who all show a remarkably good response on high doses of phenytoin and loss of seizure control when phenytoin medication was reduced, while side effects were relatively mild. In 2 patients, repeated withdrawal of phenytoin led to the reoccurrence of seizures. Based on the findings in these patients and the underlying molecular mechanism we consider treatment with (high-dose) phenytoin as a possible treatment option in patients with difficult-to-control seizures due to an SCN8A mutation.
Project description:Mutations of the neuronal sodium channel gene SCN8A are associated with lethal movement disorders in the mouse and with human epileptic encephalopathy. We describe a spontaneous mouse mutation, Scn8a(9J), that is associated with a chronic movement disorder with early onset tremor and adult onset dystonia. Scn8a(9J) homozygotes have a shortened lifespan, with only 50% of mutants surviving beyond 6 months of age. The 3 bp in-frame deletion removes 1 of the 3 adjacent isoleucine residues in transmembrane segment DIVS6 of Nav1.6 (p.Ile1750del). The altered helical orientation of the transmembrane segment displaces pore-lining amino acids with important roles in channel activation and inactivation. The predicted impact on channel activity was confirmed by analysis of cerebellar Purkinje neurons from mutant mice, which lack spontaneous and induced repetitive firing. In a heterologous expression system, the activity of the mutant channel was below the threshold for detection. Observations of decreased nerve conduction velocity and impaired behavior in an open field are also consistent with reduced activity of Nav1.6. The Nav1.6?1750 protein is only partially glycosylated. The abundance of mutant Nav1.6 is reduced at nodes of Ranvier and is not detectable at the axon initial segment. Despite a severe reduction in channel activity, the lifespan and motor function of Scn8a(9J/9J) mice are significantly better than null mutants lacking channel protein. The clinical phenotype of this severe hypomorphic mutant expands the spectrum of Scn8a disease to include a recessively inherited, chronic and progressive movement disorder.
Project description:SCN8A encephalopathy is a severe, early-onset epilepsy disorder resulting from de novo gain-of-function mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.6. To identify the effects of this disorder on mRNA expression, RNA-seq was performed on brain tissue from a knock-in mouse expressing the patient mutation p.Asn1768Asp (N1768D). RNA was isolated from forebrain, cerebellum, and brainstem both before and after seizure onset, and from age-matched wildtype littermates. Altered transcript profiles were observed only in forebrain and only after seizures. The abundance of 50 transcripts increased more than 3-fold and 15 transcripts decreased more than 3-fold after seizures. The elevated transcripts included two anti-convulsant neuropeptides and more than a dozen genes involved in reactive astrocytosis and response to neuronal damage. There was no change in the level of transcripts encoding other voltage-gated sodium, potassium or calcium channels. Reactive astrocytosis was observed in the hippocampus of mutant mice after seizures. There is considerable overlap between the genes affected in this genetic model of epilepsy and those altered by chemically induced seizures, traumatic brain injury, ischemia, and inflammation. The data support the view that gain-of-function mutations of SCN8A lead to pathogenic alterations in brain function contributing to encephalopathy.