Intracellular calcium leak as a therapeutic target for RYR1-related myopathies

Acta Neuropathol. 2020 Jun;139(6):1089-1104. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02150-w. Epub 2020 Mar 31.


RYR1 encodes the type 1 ryanodine receptor, an intracellular calcium release channel (RyR1) on the skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Pathogenic RYR1 variations can destabilize RyR1 leading to calcium leak causing oxidative overload and myopathy. However, the effect of RyR1 leak has not been established in individuals with RYR1-related myopathies (RYR1-RM), a broad spectrum of rare neuromuscular disorders. We sought to determine whether RYR1-RM affected individuals exhibit pathologic, leaky RyR1 and whether variant location in the channel structure can predict pathogenicity. Skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained from 17 individuals with RYR1-RM. Mutant RyR1 from these individuals exhibited pathologic SR calcium leak and increased activity of calcium-activated proteases. The increased calcium leak and protease activity were normalized by ex-vivo treatment with S107, a RyR stabilizing Rycal molecule. Using the cryo-EM structure of RyR1 and a new dataset of > 2200 suspected RYR1-RM affected individuals we developed a method for assigning pathogenicity probabilities to RYR1 variants based on 3D co-localization of known pathogenic variants. This study provides the rationale for a clinical trial testing Rycals in RYR1-RM affected individuals and introduces a predictive tool for investigating the pathogenicity of RYR1 variants of uncertain significance.

Keywords: Calcium; Central core disease; Genetics; RyR1-related myopathy; Ryanodine receptor; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / genetics
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / metabolism*
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism


  • RYR1 protein, human
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel
  • Calcium