SCN3A deficiency associated with increased seizure susceptibility

Tyra Lamar, Carlos G. Vanoye, Jeffrey Calhoun, Jennifer C. Wong, Stacey B.B. Dutton, Benjamin S. Jorge, Milen Velinov, Andrew Escayg*, Jennifer A. Kearney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels expressed highly in the brain (SCN1A, SCN2A, SCN3A, and SCN8A) are responsible for an increasing number of epilepsy syndromes. In particular, mutations in the SCN3A gene, encoding the pore-forming Nav1.3 α subunit, have been identified in patients with focal epilepsy. Biophysical characterization of epilepsy-associated SCN3A variants suggests that both gain- and loss-of-function SCN3A mutations may lead to increased seizure susceptibility. In this report, we identified a novel SCN3A variant (L247P) by whole exome sequencing of a child with focal epilepsy, developmental delay, and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Voltage clamp analysis showed no detectable sodium current in a heterologous expression system expressing the SCN3A-L247P variant. Furthermore, cell surface biotinylation demonstrated a reduction in the amount of SCN3A-L247P at the cell surface, suggesting the SCN3A-L247P variant is a trafficking-deficient mutant. To further explore the possible clinical consequences of reduced SCN3A activity, we investigated the effect of a hypomorphic Scn3a allele (Scn3aHyp) on seizure susceptibility and behavior using a gene trap mouse line. Heterozygous Scn3a mutant mice (Scn3a+/Hyp) did not exhibit spontaneous seizures nor were they susceptible to hyperthermia-induced seizures. However, they displayed increased susceptibility to electroconvulsive (6 Hz) and chemiconvulsive (flurothyl and kainic acid) induced seizures. Scn3a+/Hyp mice also exhibited deficits in locomotor activity and motor learning. Taken together, these results provide evidence that loss-of-function of SCN3A caused by reduced protein expression or deficient trafficking to the plasma membrane may contribute to increased seizure susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Focal epilepsy
  • Na1.3
  • SCN3A
  • Seizure susceptibility
  • Voltage-gated sodium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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