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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 May 22;98(11):6384-9.

A missense mutation of the Na+ channel alpha II subunit gene Na(v)1.2 in a patient with febrile and afebrile seizures causes channel dysfunction.

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Laboratories for Neurogenetics and Memory and Learning, Brain Science Institute, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.

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  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10515.


Generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+), a clinical subset of febrile seizures (FS), is characterized by frequent episodes beyond 6 years of age (FS+) and various types of subsequent epilepsy. Mutations in beta1 and alpha(I)-subunit genes of voltage-gated Na(+) channels have been associated with GEFS+1 and 2, respectively. Here, we report a mutation resulting in an amino acid exchange (R188W) [corrected] in the gene encoding the alpha-subunit of neuronal voltage-gated Na(+) channel type II (Na(v)1.2) in a patient with FS associated with afebrile seizures. The mutation R188W [corrected] occurring on Arg(187), a highly conserved residue among voltage-gated Na(+) channels, was not found in 224 alleles of unaffected individuals. Whole-cell patch clamp recordings on human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells expressing a rat wild-type (rNa(v)1.2) and the corresponding mutant channels showed that the mutant channel inactivated more slowly than wild-type whereas the Na(+) channel conductance was not affected. Prolonged residence in the open state of the R188W [corrected] mutant channel may augment Na(+) influx and thereby underlie the neuronal hyperexcitability that induces seizure activity. Even though a small pedigree could not show clear cosegregation with the disease phenotype, these findings strongly suggest the involvement of Na(v)1.2 in a human disease and propose the R188W [corrected] mutation as the genetic defect responsible for febrile seizures associated with afebrile seizures.

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