Missense Mutations in Plakophilin-2 Cause Sodium Current Deficit and Associate with a Brugada Syndrome Phenotype
Background—Brugada syndrome (BrS) primarily associates with loss of sodium channel function. Previous studies showed features consistent with sodium current (INa) deficit in patients carrying desmosomal mutations, diagnosed with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC; or arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, ARVC). Experimental models showed correlation between loss of expression of desmosomal protein plakophilin-2 (PKP2), and reduced INa. We hypothesized that PKP2 variants that reduce INa could yield a BrS phenotype, even without overt structural features.
Methods and Results—We searched for PKP2 variants in genomic DNA of 200 patients with BrS diagnosis, no signs of AC, and no mutations in BrS-related genes SCN5A, CACNa1c, GPD1L and MOG1. We identified 5 cases of single amino acid substitutions. Mutations were tested in HL-1-derived cells endogenously expressing NaV1.5 but made deficient in PKP2 (PKP2-KD). Loss of PKP2 caused decreased INa and NaV1.5 at site of cell contact. These deficits were restored by transfection of wild-type PKP2 (PKP2-WT), but not of BrS-related PKP2 mutants. Human induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes (hIPSC-CMs) from a patient with PKP2 deficit showed drastically reduced INa. The deficit was restored by transfection of WT, but not BrS-related PKP2. Super-resolution microscopy in murine PKP2-deficient cardiomyocytes related INa deficiency to reduced number of channels at the intercalated disc, and increased separation of microtubules from the cell-end.
Conclusions—This is the first systematic retrospective analysis of a patient group to define the co-existence of sodium channelopathy and genetic PKP2 variations. PKP2 mutations may be a molecular substrate leading to the diagnosis of BrS.
- arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy
- Brugada syndrome
- sodium channels
- desmosomes arrhythmia
- Received April 8, 2013.
- Revision received November 14, 2013.
- Accepted November 22, 2013.