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Truncation of the Shaker-like voltage-gated potassium channel, Kv1.1, causes megencephaly

Authors


: Dr Susanna Petersson, at *present address below.
E-mail: susanna.petersson@licr.ki.se
Also, Professor Martin Schalling, as above.
E-mail: martin.schalling@cmm.ki.se

Abstract

The megencephaly mouse, mceph/mceph, displays dramatically increased brain volume and hypertrophic brain cells. Despite overall enlargement, the mceph/mceph brain appears structurally normal, without oedema, hydrocephaly or leukodystrophy, and with only minor astrocytosis. Furthermore, it presents striking disturbances in expression of trophic and neuromodulating factors within the hippocampus and cortex. Using a positional cloning approach we have identified the mceph mutation. We show that mceph/mceph mice carry an 11-base-pair deletion in the gene encoding the Shaker-like voltage-gated potassium channel subtype 1, Kcna1. The mutation leads to a frame shift and the predicted MCEPH protein is truncated at amino acid 230 (out of 495), terminating with six aberrant amino acids. The expression of Kcna1 mRNA is increased in the mceph/mceph brain. However, the C-terminal domains of the corresponding Kv1.1 protein are absent. The putative MCEPH protein retains only the N-terminal domains for channel assembly and may congregate nonfunctional complexes of multiple Shaker-like subunits. Indeed, whereas Kcna2 and Kcna3 mRNA expression is normal, the mceph/mceph hippocampus displays decreased amounts of Kv1.2 and Kv1.3 proteins, suggesting interactions at the protein level. We show that mceph/mceph mice have disturbed brain electrophysiology and experience recurrent behavioural seizures, in agreement with the abnormal electrical brain activity found in Shaker mutants. However, in contrast to the commonly demonstrated epilepsy-induced neurodegeneration, we find that the mceph mutation leads to seizures with a concomitant increase in brain size, without overt neural atrophy.

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