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Circ Res. 2001 Apr 13;88(7):740-5.

Novel arrhythmogenic mechanism revealed by a long-QT syndrome mutation in the cardiac Na(+) channel.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Variant 3 of the congenital long-QT syndrome (LQTS-3) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the alpha subunit of the cardiac Na(+) channel. In the present study, we report a novel LQTS-3 mutation, E1295K (EK), and describe its functional consequences when expressed in HEK293 cells. The clinical phenotype of the proband indicated QT interval prolongation in the absence of T-wave morphological abnormalities and a steep QT/R-R relationship, consistent with an LQTS-3 lesion. However, biophysical analysis of mutant channels indicates that the EK mutation changes channel activity in a manner that is distinct from previously investigated LQTS-3 mutations. The EK mutation causes significant positive shifts in the half-maximal voltage (V(1/2)) of steady-state inactivation and activation (+5.2 and +3.4 mV, respectively). These gating changes shift the window of voltages over which Na(+) channels do not completely inactivate without altering the magnitude of these currents. The change in voltage dependence of window currents suggests that this alteration in the voltage dependence of Na(+) channel gating may cause marked changes in action potential duration because of the unique voltage-dependent rectifying properties of cardiac K(+) channels that underlie the plateau and terminal repolarization phases of the action potential. Na(+) channel window current is likely to have a greater effect on net membrane current at more positive potentials (EK channels) where total K(+) channel conductance is low than at more negative potentials (wild-type channels), where total K(+) channel conductance is high. These findings suggest a fundamentally distinct mechanism of arrhythmogenesis for congenital LQTS-3.

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