High-throughput evaluation of epilepsy-associated KCNQ2 variants reveals functional and pharmacological heterogeneity

Carlos G. Vanoye, Reshma R. Desai, Zhigang Ji, Sneha Adusumilli, Nirvani Jairam, Nora Ghabra, Nishtha Joshi, Eryn Fitch, Katherine L. Helbig, Dianalee McKnight, Amanda S. Lindy, Fanggeng Zou, Ingo Helbig, Edward C. Cooper, Alfred L. George*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Hundreds of genetic variants in KCNQ2 encoding the voltage-gated potassium channel KV7.2 are associated with early onset epilepsy and/or developmental disability, but the functional consequences of most variants are unknown. Absent functional annotation for KCNQ2 variants hinders identification of individuals who may benefit from emerging precision therapies. We employed automated patch clamp recordings to assess at, to our knowledge, an unprecedented scale the functional and pharmacological properties of 79 missense and 2 inframe deletion KCNQ2 variants. Among the variants we studied were 18 known pathogenic variants, 24 mostly rare population variants, and 39 disease-associated variants with unclear functional effects. We analyzed electrophysiological data recorded from 9,480 cells. The functional properties of 18 known pathogenic variants largely matched previously published results and validated automated patch clamp for this purpose. Unlike rare population variants, most disease-associated KCNQ2 variants exhibited prominent loss-of-function with dominant-negative effects, providing strong evidence in support of pathogenicity. All variants responded to retigabine, although there were substantial differences in maximal responses. Our study demonstrated that dominant-negative loss-of-function is a common mechanism associated with missense KCNQ2 variants. Importantly, we observed genotype-dependent differences in the response of KCNQ2 variants to retigabine, a proposed precision therapy for KCNQ2 developmental and epileptic encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere156314
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 8 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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