Mutations in the GABRA1 and EFHC1 genes are rare in familial juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Shaochun Ma, Marcia A. Blair, Bassel Abou-Khalil, Andre H. Lagrange, Christina A. Gurnett, Peter Hedera

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Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), accounting for approximately 25% of idiopathic generalized epilepsies, is genetically heterogeneous. Mutations in the alpha-1 subunit of the GABAA receptor (GABRA1) and EFHC1 genes have been reported in a few families with autosomal dominant (AD) JME. We have investigated the contribution of these two genes to familial JME in our cohort of 54 JME Caucasian families. Syndromic classification of JME was based on previously published criteria. We considered kindreds with at least one affected first-degree relative and the evidence of a vertical transmission as definite AD JME, and families with at least one affected second-degree relative as probable AD JME. We included 33 families meeting criteria for definitive AD JME and 21 that were classified as probable AD JME. None of these families were considered informative enough to analyze candidate loci for JME using linkage analysis. We have systematically screened coding exons of these two genes using temperature gradient capillary electrophoresis. Every heteroduplex with an abnormal mobility was sequenced. No disease-causing mutations in the GABRA1 gene were identified. Analysis of EFHC1 gene found one putative disease-causing mutation R221H that was previously reported as a tandem mutation. Several synonymous and non-synonymous coding polymorphisms were identified but the allelic frequency did not differ between controls and affected individuals. Our data suggests that the majority of familial AD JME is not caused by mutations in the GABRA1 and EFHC1 genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • EFHC1
  • GABRA1
  • Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
  • Temperature gradient capillary electrophoresis


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