GABRG2 Deletion Linked to Genetic Epilepsy with Febrile Seizures Plus Affects the Expression of GABAA Receptor Subunits and Other Genes at Different Temperatures

Neuroscience. 2020 Jul 1;438:116-136. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.04.049. Epub 2020 May 8.


Mutations in γ-aminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAA) subunits and sodium channel genes, especially GABRG2 and SCN1A, have been reported to be associated with febrile seizures (FS) and genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). GEFS+ is a well-known family of epileptic syndrome with autosomal dominant inheritance in children. Its most common phenotypes are febrile seizures often with accessory afebrile generalized tonic-clonic seizures, febrile seizures plus (FS+), severe epileptic encephalopathy, as well as other types of generalized or localization-related seizures. However, the pathogenesis of febrile seizures remains largely unknown. Here, we generated a GABRG2 gene knockout cell line (HT22GABRG2KO) by applying the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic deletion in HT-22 mouse hippocampal neuronal cell line to explore the function of GABRG2 in vitro. With mRNA-seq, we found significant changes in the expression profiles of several epilepsy-related genes when GABRG2 was knockout, some of them showing temperature-induced changes as well. Kyoto Encyclopedia Gene and Genomic (KEGG) analysis revealed a significant alteration in the MAPK and PI3K-Akt signaling pathways. We also observed an up-regulation of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) family after GABRG2 knockout. Furthermore, the significant decrease in expression of GABRA1 and CACNA1A (but not others) with an increase in temperature is a novel finding. In summary, mutations in the GABAA receptor can lead to a decrease in numbers of receptors, which may cause the impairment of GABAergic pathway signaling. This data has been the first time to reveal that GABRG2 mutations would affect the function of other genes, and based on this finding we hope this work would also provide a new direction for the research of GABRG2 in GEFS+. It also may provide a molecular basis for the severity of epilepsy, and guide the clinical medication for the treatment of the epilepsy focused on the function on GABAA receptors, which, might be a new strategy for genetic diagnosis and targeted treatment of epilepsy.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; GABRG2; RNA-Seq; epilepsy; genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy, Generalized*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics
  • Seizures, Febrile* / genetics
  • Temperature


  • GABRG2 protein, human
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • Receptors, GABA-A