Congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac channelopathy characterized by a prolongation of the QT interval and T-wave abnormalities, caused, in most cases, by mutations in KCNQ1, KCNH2, and SCN5A. Although the predominant pattern of LQTS inheritance is autosomal dominant, compound heterozygous mutations in genes encoding potassium channels have been reported, often with early disease onset and more severe phenotypes. Since the molecular mechanisms underlying severe phenotypes in carriers of compound heterozygous mutations are unknown, it is possible that these compound mutations lead to synergistic or additive alterations to channel structure and function. In this study, all-atom molecular dynamic simulations of KCNQ1 and hERG channels were carried out, including wild-type and channels with compound mutations found in two patients with severe LQTS phenotypes and limited family history of the disease. Because channels can likely incorporate different subunit combinations from different alleles, there are multiple possible configurations of ion channels in LQTS patients. This analysis allowed us to establish the structural impact of different configurations of mutant channels in the activated/open state. Our data suggest that channels with these mutations show moderate changes in folding energy (in most cases of stabilizing character) and changes in channel mobility and volume, differentiating them from each other and from WT. This would indicate possible alterations in K+ ion flow. Hetero-tetrameric mutant channels showed intermediate structural and volume alterations vis-à-vis homo-tetrameric channels. These findings support the hypothesis that heterotetrameric channels in patients with compound heterozygous mutations do not necessarily lead to synergistic structural alterations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry