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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 21;9(4):e95579. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095579. eCollection 2014.

Rare mutations of CACNB2 found in autism spectrum disease-affected families alter calcium channel function.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
2
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR-Klinik Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
3
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
4
Cologne Center for Genomics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
5
Department of Pharmacology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; Center for Molecular Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases clinically defined by dysfunction of social interaction. Dysregulation of cellular calcium homeostasis might be involved in ASD pathogenesis, and genes coding for the L-type calcium channel subunits CaV1.2 (CACNA1C) and CaVβ2 (CACNB2) were recently identified as risk loci for psychiatric diseases. Here, we present three rare missense mutations of CACNB2 (G167S, S197F, and F240L) found in ASD-affected families, two of them described here for the first time (G167S and F240L). All these mutations affect highly conserved regions while being absent in a sample of ethnically matched controls. We suggest the mutations to be of physiological relevance since they modulate whole-cell Ba2+ currents through calcium channels when expressed in a recombinant system (HEK-293 cells). Two mutations displayed significantly decelerated time-dependent inactivation as well as increased sensitivity of voltage-dependent inactivation. In contrast, the third mutation (F240L) showed significantly accelerated time-dependent inactivation. By altering the kinetic parameters, the mutations are reminiscent of the CACNA1C mutation causing Timothy Syndrome, a Mendelian disease presenting with ASD. In conclusion, the results of our first-time biophysical characterization of these three rare CACNB2 missense mutations identified in ASD patients support the hypothesis that calcium channel dysfunction may contribute to autism.

PMID:
24752249
PMCID:
PMC3994086
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0095579
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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