A mutation in the GABA(A) receptor alpha(1)-subunit is associated with absence epilepsy

Snezana Maljevic, Klaus Krampfl, Joana Cobilanschi, Nikola Tilgen, Susanne Beyer, Yvonne G Weber, Friedrich Schlesinger, Daniel Ursu, Werner Melzer, Patrick Cossette, Johannes Bufler, Holger Lerche, Armin Heils
Annals of Neurology 2006, 59 (6): 983-7

OBJECTIVE: To detect mutations in GABRA1 in idiopathic generalized epilepsy.

METHODS: GABRA1 was sequenced in 98 unrelated idiopathic generalized epilepsy patients. Patch clamping and confocal imaging was performed in transfected mammalian cells.

RESULTS: We identified the first GABRA1 mutation in a patient with childhood absence epilepsy. Functional studies showed no detectable GABA-evoked currents for the mutant, truncated receptor, which was not integrated into the surface membrane.

INTERPRETATION: We conclude that this de novo mutation can contribute to the cause of "sporadic" childhood absence epilepsy by a loss of function and haploinsufficiency of the GABA(A) receptor alpha(1)-subunit, and that GABRA1 mutations rarely are associated with idiopathic generalized epilepsy.

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