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Nephron Physiol. 2011;119(3):p40-8. doi: 10.1159/000330250. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

KCNJ10 mutations disrupt function in patients with EAST syndrome.

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Centre for Nephrology, University College London, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.



Mutations in the inwardly-rectifying K+ channel KCNJ10/Kir4.1 cause an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by epilepsy, ataxia, sensorineural deafness and tubulopathy (EAST syndrome). KCNJ10 is expressed in the kidney distal convoluted tubule, cochlear stria vascularis and brain glial cells. Patients clinically diagnosed with EAST syndrome were genotyped to identify and study mutations in KCNJ10.


Patient DNA was sequenced and new mutations identified. Mutant and wild-type KCNJ10 constructs were cloned and heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Whole-cell K+ currents were measured by two-electrode voltage clamping.


Three new mutations in KCNJ10 (p.R65C, p.F75L and p.V259fs259X) were identified, and mutation p.R297C, previously only seen in a compound heterozygous patient, was found in a homozygous state. Wild-type human KCNJ10-expressing oocytes showed strongly inwardly-rectified currents, which by comparison were significantly reduced in all the mutants (p < 0.001). Specific inhibition of KCNJ10 currents by Ba2+ demonstrated residual function in all mutant channels (p < 0.05) but V259X.


This study confirms that EAST syndrome can be caused by many different mutations in KCNJ10 that significantly reduce K+ conductance. EAST syndrome should be considered in any patient with a renal Gitelman-like phenotype with additional neurological signs and symptoms like ataxia, epilepsy or sensorineural deafness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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