Mutations of SCN1A, encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel α1 subunit, represent the most frequent genetic cause of severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy (SMEI). The purpose of this study was to determine if mutations in other seizure susceptibility genes are also present and could modify the disease severity. All coding exons of SCN1B, GABRG2, and CACNB4 genes were screened for mutations in 38 SCN1A-mutation-positive SMEI probands. We identified one proband who was heterozygous for a de novo SCN1A nonsense mutation (R568X) and another missense mutation (R468Q) of the CACNB4 gene. The latter mutation was inherited from his father who had a history of febrile seizures. An electrophysiological analysis of heterologous expression system exhibited that R468Q-CACNB4 showed greater Ba2+ current density compared with the wild-type CACNB4. The greater Cav2.1 currents caused by the R468Q-CACNB4 mutation may increase the neurotransmitter release in the excitatory neurons under the condition of insufficient inhibitory neurons caused primarily by the SCN1A mutation.
- Dravet syndrome
- Genetic modifier
- Severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas