• Effects of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Human KCNMA1 on BK Current Properties

      Plante, A.E.; Lai, M.H.; Lu, J.; Meredith, A.L. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2019)
      BK Ca2+-activated K+ channels are important regulators of membrane excitability. Multiple regulatory mechanisms tailor BK current properties across tissues, such as alternative splicing, posttranslational modifications, and auxiliary subunits. Another potential mechanism for modulating BK channel activity is genetic variation due to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The gene encoding the human BK α subunit, KCNMA1, contains hundreds of SNPs. However, the variation in BK channel activity due to SNPs is not well studied. Here, we screened the effects of four SNPs (A138V, C495G, N599D, and R800W) on BK currents in HEK293T cells, selected based on predicted protein pathogenicity or disease linkage. We found that the SNPs C495G and R800W had the largest effects on BK currents, affecting the conductance–voltage relationship across multiple Ca2+ conditions in the context of two BK channel splice variants. In symmetrical K+, C495G shifted the V1/2 to more hyperpolarized potentials (by −15 to −20 mV) and accelerated activation, indicating C495G confers some gain-of-function properties. R800W shifted the V1/2 to more depolarized potentials (+15 to +35 mV) and slowed activation, conferring loss-of-function properties. Moreover, the C495G and R800W effects on current properties were found to persist with posttranslational modifications. In contrast, A138V and N599D had smaller and more variable effects on current properties. Neither application of alkaline phosphatase to patches, which results in increased BK channel activity attributed to channel dephosphorylation, nor bidirectional redox modulations completely abrogated SNP effects on BK currents. Lastly, in physiological K+, C495G increased the amplitude of action potential (AP)-evoked BK currents, while R800W had a more limited effect. However, the introduction of R800W in parallel with the epilepsy-linked mutation D434G (D434G/R800W) decreased the amplitude of AP-evoked BK currents compared with D434G alone. These results suggest that in a physiological context, C495G could increase BK activation, while the effects of the loss-of-function SNP R800W could oppose the gain-of-function effects of an epilepsy-linked mutation. Together, these results implicate naturally occurring human genetic variation as a potential modifier of BK channel activity across a variety of conditions. Copyright 2019 Plante, Lai, Lu and Meredith.
    • KCNMA1-linked channelopathy

      Bailey, C.S.; Moldenhauer, H.J.; Park, S.M.; Meredith, A.L. (Rockefeller University Press, 2019)
      KCNMA1 encodes the pore-forming α subunit of the "Big K+" (BK) large conductance calcium and voltage-activated K+ channel. BK channels are widely distributed across tissues, including both excitable and nonexcitable cells. Expression levels are highest in brain and muscle, where BK channels are critical regulators of neuronal excitability and muscle contractility. A global deletion in mouse (KCNMA1-/- ) is viable but exhibits pathophysiology in many organ systems. Yet despite the important roles in animal models, the consequences of dysfunctional BK channels in humans are not well characterized. Here, we summarize 16 rare KCNMA1 mutations identified in 37 patients dating back to 2005, with an array of clinically defined pathological phenotypes collectively referred to as "KCNMA1-linked channelopathy." These mutations encompass gain-of-function (GOF) and loss-of-function (LOF) alterations in BK channel activity, as well as several variants of unknown significance (VUS). Human KCNMA1 mutations are primarily associated with neurological conditions, including seizures, movement disorders, developmental delay, and intellectual disability. Due to the recent identification of additional patients, the spectrum of symptoms associated with KCNMA1 mutations has expanded but remains primarily defined by brain and muscle dysfunction. Emerging evidence suggests the functional BK channel alterations produced by different KCNMA1 alleles may associate with semi-distinct patient symptoms, such as paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD) with GOF and ataxia with LOF. However, due to the de novo origins for the majority of KCNMA1 mutations identified to date and the phenotypic variability exhibited by patients, additional evidence is required to establish causality in most cases. The symptomatic picture developing from patients with KCNMA1-linked channelopathy highlights the importance of better understanding the roles BK channels play in regulating cell excitability. Establishing causality between KCNMA1-linked BK channel dysfunction and specific patient symptoms may reveal new treatment approaches with the potential to increase therapeutic efficacy over current standard regimens. Copyright 2019 Bailey et al.