OBJECTIVE - The mutant γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA ) receptor γ2(Q390X) subunit (Q351X in the mature peptide) has been associated with the epileptic encephalopathy, Dravet syndrome, and the epilepsy syndrome genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). The mutation generates a premature stop codon that results in translation of a stable truncated and misfolded γ2 subunit that accumulates in neurons, forms intracellular aggregates, disrupts incorporation of γ2 subunits into GABA receptors, and affects trafficking of partnering α and β subunits. Heterozygous Gabrg2 knock-in (KI) mice had reduced cortical inhibition, spike wave discharges on electroencephalography (EEG), a lower seizure threshold to the convulsant drug pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), and spontaneous generalized tonic-clonic seizures. In this proof-of-principal study, we attempted to rescue these deficits in KI mice using a γ2 subunit gene (GABRG2) replacement therapy.
METHODS - We introduced the GABRG2 allele by crossing Gabrg2 KI mice with bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice overexpressing HA (hemagglutinin)-tagged human γ2 subunits, and compared GABA receptor subunit expression by Western blot and immunohistochemical staining, seizure threshold by monitoring mouse behavior after PTZ-injection, and thalamocortical inhibition and network oscillation by slice recording.
RESULTS - Compared to KI mice, adult mice carrying both mutant allele and transgene had increased wild-type γ2 and partnering α1 and β2/3 subunits, increased miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current (mIPSC) amplitudes recorded from layer VI cortical neurons, reduced thalamocortical network oscillations, and higher PTZ seizure threshold.
SIGNIFICANCE - Based on these results we suggest that seizures in a genetic epilepsy syndrome caused by epilepsy mutant γ2(Q390X) subunits with dominant negative effects could be rescued potentially by overexpression of wild-type γ2 subunits.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 International League Against Epilepsy.