The CACNA1G gene encodes the low-voltage-activated Cav3.1 channel, which is expressed in various areas of the CNS, including the cerebellum. We studied two missense CACNA1G variants, p.L208P and p.L909F, and evaluated the relationships between the severity of Cav3.1 dysfunction and the clinical phenotype. The presentation was of a developmental and epileptic encephalopathy without evident cerebellar atrophy. Both patients exhibited axial hypotonia, developmental delay, and severe to profound cognitive impairment. The patient with the L909F mutation had initially refractory seizures and cerebellar ataxia, whereas the L208P patient had seizures only transiently but was overall more severely affected. In transfected mammalian cells, we determined the biophysical characteristics of L208P and L909F variants, relative to the wild-type channel and a previously reported gain-of-function Cav3.1 variant. The L208P mutation shifted the activation and inactivation curves to the hyperpolarized direction, slowed the kinetics of inactivation and deactivation, and reduced the availability of Ca2+ current during repetitive stimuli. The L909F mutation impacted channel function less severely, resulting in a hyperpolarizing shift of the activation curve and slower deactivation. These data suggest that L909F results in gain-of-function, whereas L208P exhibits mixed gain-of-function and loss-of-function effects due to opposing changes in the biophysical properties. Our study expands the clinical spectrum associated with CACNA1G mutations, corroborating further the causal association with distinct complex phenotypes.
Keywords: CACNA1G mutation; deep cerebellar nuclei; developmental and epileptic encephalopathy; gain of function; loss of function; voltage-dependent T-type calcium channel.