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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 28;8(6):e67963. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067963. Print 2013.

A heterozygous deletion mutation in the cardiac sodium channel gene SCN5A with loss- and gain-of-function characteristics manifests as isolated conduction disease, without signs of Brugada or long QT syndrome.

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Institute for Genetics of Heart Diseases, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany.



The SCN5A gene encodes for the α-subunit of the cardiac sodium channel NaV1.5, which is responsible for the rapid upstroke of the cardiac action potential. Mutations in this gene may lead to multiple life-threatening disorders of cardiac rhythm or are linked to structural cardiac defects. Here, we characterized a large family with a mutation in SCN5A presenting with an atrioventricular conduction disease and absence of Brugada syndrome.


In a large family with a high incidence of sudden cardiac deaths, a heterozygous SCN5A mutation (p.1493delK) with an autosomal dominant inheritance has been identified. Mutation carriers were devoid of any cardiac structural changes. Typical ECG findings were an increased P-wave duration, an AV-block I° and a prolonged QRS duration with an intraventricular conduction delay and no signs for Brugada syndrome. HEK293 cells transfected with 1493delK showed strongly (5-fold) reduced Na(+) currents with altered inactivation kinetics compared to wild-type channels. Immunocytochemical staining demonstrated strongly decreased expression of SCN5A 1493delK in the sarcolemma consistent with an intracellular trafficking defect and thereby a loss-of-function. In addition, SCN5A 1493delK channels that reached cell membrane showed gain-of-function aspects (slowing of the fast inactivation, reduction in the relative fraction of channels that fast inactivate, hastening of the recovery from inactivation).


In a large family, congregation of a heterozygous SCN5A gene mutation (p.1493delK) predisposes for conduction slowing without evidence for Brugada syndrome due to a predominantly trafficking defect that reduces Na(+) current and depolarization force.

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