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.
Ann Neurol 2006;59:983-987.