Alternative splicing of the cardiac sodium channel creates multiple variants of mutant T1620K channels

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Alternative splicing creates several Nav1.5 transcripts in the mammalian myocardium and in various other tissues including brain, dorsal root ganglia, breast cancer cells as well as neuronal stem cell lines. In total nine Nav1.5 splice variants have been discovered. Four of them, namely Nav1.5a, Nav1.5c, Nav1.5d, and Nav1.5e, generate functional channels in heterologous expression systems. The significance of alternatively spliced transcripts for cardiac excitation, in particular their role in SCN5A channelopathies, is less well understood. In the present study, we systematically investigated electrophysiological properties of mutant T1620K channels in the background of all known functional Nav1.5 splice variants in HEK293 cells. This mutation has been previously associated with two distinct cardiac excitation disorders: with long QT syndrome type 3 (LQT3) and isolated cardiac conduction disease (CCD). When investigating the effect of the T1620K mutation, we noticed similar channel defects in the background of hNav1.5, hNav1.5a, and hNav1.5c. In contrast, the hNav1.5d background produced differential effects: In the mutant channel, some gain-of-function features did not emerge, whereas loss-of-function became more pronounced. In case of hNav1.5e, the neonatal variant of hNav1.5, both the splice variant itself as well as the corresponding mutant channel showed electrophysiological properties that were distinct from the wild-type and mutant reference channels, hNav1.5 and T1620K, respectively. In conclusion, our data show that alternative splicing is a mechanism capable of generating a variety of functionally distinct wild-type and mutant hNav1.5 channels. Thus, the cellular splicing machinery is a potential player affecting genotype-phenotype correlations in SCN5A channelopathies. © 2011 Walzik et al.




Walzik, S., Schroeter, A., Benndorf, K., & Zimmer, T. (2011). Alternative splicing of the cardiac sodium channel creates multiple variants of mutant T1620K channels. PLoS ONE, 6(4).

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