Characterization of SEMA3A-encoded semaphorin as a naturally occurring Kv4.3 protein inhibitor and its contribution to Brugada syndrome

Nicole J. Boczek, Dan Ye, Eric K. Johnson, Wei Wang, Lia Crotti, David J. Tester, Federica Dagradi, Yuka Mizusawa, Margherita Torchio, Marielle Alders, John R. Giudicessi, Arthur A.M. Wilde, Peter J. Schwartz, Jeanne M. Nerbonne, Michael J. Ackerman

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47 Scopus citations


RATIONALE: Semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A)-encoded semaphorin is a chemorepellent that disrupts neural patterning in the nervous and cardiac systems. In addition, SEMA3A has an amino acid motif that is analogous to hanatoxin, an inhibitor of voltage-gated K channels. SEMA3A-knockout mice exhibit an abnormal ECG pattern and are prone to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. OBJECTIVE:: Our aim was to determine whether SEMA3A is a naturally occurring protein inhibitor of Kv4.3 (Ito) channels and its potential contribution to Brugada syndrome. METHODS AND RESULTS:: Kv4.3, Nav1.5, Cav1.2, or Kv4.2 were coexpressed or perfused with SEMA3A in HEK293 cells, and electrophysiological properties were examined via whole-cell patch clamp technique. SEMA3A selectively altered Kv4.3 by significantly reducing peak current density without perturbing Kv4.3 cell surface protein expression. SEMA3A also reduced Ito current density in cardiomyocytes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. Disruption of a putative toxin binding domain on Kv4.3 was used to assess physical interactions between SEMA3A and Kv4.3. These findings in combination with coimmunoprecipitations of SEMA3A and Kv4.3 revealed a potential direct binding interaction between these proteins. Comprehensive mutational analysis of SEMA3A was performed on 198 unrelated SCN5A genotype-negative patients with Brugada syndrome, and 2 rare SEMA3A missense mutations were identified. The SEMA3A mutations disrupted SEMA3A's ability to inhibit Kv4.3 channels, resulting in a significant gain of Kv4.3 current compared with wild-type SEMA3A. CONCLUSIONS:: This study is the first to demonstrate SEMA3A as a naturally occurring protein that selectively inhibits Kv4.3 and SEMA3A as a possible Brugada syndrome susceptibility gene through a Kv4.3 gain-of-function mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-469
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Brugada syndrome
  • genetics
  • ion channels
  • medical
  • potassium channels
  • semaphorin-3A


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