Calmodulin Mutations Associated with Recurrent Cardiac Arrest in Infants
Background—Life-threatening disorders of heart rhythm may arise during infancy and can result in the sudden and tragic death of a child. We performed exome sequencing on two unrelated infants presenting with recurrent cardiac arrest to discover a genetic cause.
Methods and Results—We ascertained two unrelated infants (probands) with recurrent cardiac arrest and dramatically prolonged QTc interval who were both born to healthy parents. The two parent-child trios were investigated using exome sequencing to search for de novo genetic variants. We then performed follow-up candidate gene screening on an independent cohort of 82 subjects with congenital long-QT syndrome without an identified genetic cause. Biochemical studies were performed to determine the functional consequences of mutations discovered in two genes encoding calmodulin. We discovered three heterozygous de novo mutations in either CALM1 or CALM2, two of the three human genes encoding calmodulin, in the two probands and in two additional subjects with recurrent cardiac arrest. All mutation carriers were infants who exhibited life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias combined variably with epilepsy and delayed neurodevelopment. Mutations altered residues in or adjacent to critical calcium binding loops in the calmodulin carboxyl-terminal domain. Recombinant mutant calmodulins exhibited several fold reductions in calcium binding affinity.
Conclusions—Human calmodulin mutations disrupt calcium ion binding to the protein and are associated with a life-threatening condition in early infancy. Defects in calmodulin function will disrupt important calcium signaling events in heart affecting membrane ion channels, a plausible molecular mechanism for potentially deadly disturbances in heart rhythm during infancy.
- Received January 8, 2013.
- Accepted January 10, 2013.
- Copyright © 2013, Circulation