A Missense Mutation A384P Associated with Human Hyperekplexia Reveals a Desensitization Site of Glycine Receptors.

Research paper by Chen-Hung CH Wang, Ciria C CC Hernandez, Junyi J Wu, Ning N Zhou, Hsin-Yu HY Hsu, Mei-Lin ML Shen, Yi-Ching YC Wang, Robert L RL Macdonald, Dong Chuan DC Wu

Indexed on: 15 Feb '18Published on: 15 Feb '18Published in: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience


Hyperekplexia, an inherited neuronal disorder characterized by exaggerated startle responses with unexpected sensory stimuli, is caused by dysfunction of glycinergic inhibitory transmission. From analysis of newly identified human hyperekplexia mutations in the glycine receptor (GlyR) α1 subunit, we found that an alanine-to-proline missense mutation (A384P) resulted in substantially higher desensitization level and lower agonist sensitivity of homomeric α1 GlyRs when expressed in HEK cells. The incorporation of the β subunit fully reversed the reduction in agonist sensitivity and partially reversed the desensitization of α1The heteromeric α1β GlyRs showed enhanced desensitization but unchanged agonist-induced maximum responses, surface expression, main channel conductance, and voltage dependence compared with that of the wild-type α1β (α1β) GlyRs. Coexpression of the R392H and A384P mutant α1 subunits, which mimic the expression of the compound heterozygous mutation in a hyperekplexia patient, resulted in channel properties similar to those with α1subunit expression alone. In comparison, another human hyperekplexia mutation α1, which was previously reported to enhance desensitization, caused a strong reduction in maximum currents in addition to the altered desensitization. These results were further confirmed by overexpression of α1or α1subunits in cultured neurons isolated from SD rats of either sex. Moreover, the IPSC-like responses of cells expressing α1β induced by repeated glycine pulses showed a stronger frequency-dependent reduction than those expressing α1β. Together, our findings demonstrate that A384 is associated with the desensitization site of the α1 subunit and its proline mutation produced enhanced desensitization of GlyRs, which contributes to the pathogenesis of human hyperekplexia.Human startle disease is caused by impaired synaptic inhibition in the brainstem and spinal cord, which is due to either direct loss of GlyR channel function or reduced number of synaptic GlyRs. Considering that fast decay kinetics of GlyR-mediated inhibitory synaptic responses, the question was raised whether altered desensitization of GlyRs will cause dysfunction of glycine transmission and disease phenotypes. Here, we found that the α1 subunit mutation A384P, identified from startle disease patients, results in enhanced desensitization and leads to rapidly decreasing responses in the mutant GlyRs when they are activated repeatedly by the synaptic-like simulation. These observations suggest that the enhanced desensitization of postsynaptic GlyRs could be the primary pathogenic mechanism of human startle disease. Copyright © 2018 the authors 0270-6474/18/382819-14$15.00/0.

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