Distinct epilepsy phenotypes and response to drugs in KCNA1 gain- and loss-of function variants

Francesco Miceli, Renzo Guerrini, Mario Nappi, Maria Virginia Soldovieri, Elena Cellini, Christina A. Gurnett, Lucio Parmeggiani, Davide Mei, Maurizio Taglialatela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A wide phenotypic spectrum of neurological diseases is associated with KCNA1 (Kv1.1) variants. To investigate the molecular basis of such a heterogeneous clinical presentation and identify the possible correlation with in vitro phenotypes, we compared the functional consequences of three heterozygous de novo variants (p.P403S, p.P405L, and p.P405S) in Kv1.1 pore region found in four patients with severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE), with those of a de novo variant in the voltage sensor (p.A261T) identified in two patients with mild, carbamazepine-responsive, focal epilepsy. Patch-clamp electrophysiology was used to investigate the functional properties of mutant Kv1.1 subunits, both expressed as homomers and heteromers with wild-type Kv1.1 subunits. KCNA1 pore mutations markedly decreased (p. P405S) or fully suppressed (p. P403S, p. P405L) Kv1.1-mediated currents, exerting loss-of-function (LoF) effects. By contrast, channels carrying the p.A261T variant exhibited a hyperpolarizing shift of the activation process, consistent with a gain-of-function (GoF) effect. The present results unveil a novel correlation between in vitro phenotype (GoF vs LoF) and clinical course (mild vs severe) in KCNA1-related phenotypes. The excellent clinical response to carbamazepine observed in the patients carrying the A261T variant suggests an exquisite sensitivity of KCNA1 GoF to sodium channel inhibition that should be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e7-e14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


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